Hicks praised Trump's business acumen and media skills during her testimony, and hesitated or said she didn't recall when asked about the former president's direct knowledge of some conduct in question. As several hours of questioning by a prosecutor wrapped up, she began to sob. The judge sent the jury out of the courtroom.

How does this work? If the jury is not in the courtroom, how are they going to listen to the evidence?

1 Answer 1


The jury is sent out of the court room when what is going on in the courtroom is not evidence properly before the jury. Examples where this happens:

  1. voir dires as to the admissibility of evidence (or in the U.S. I believe the term is motion in limine)
  2. motions before the judge about points of law
  3. mid-trial contempt proceedings
  4. often, for scheduling discussions
  5. when nothing is going on

What you describe is an example from that fifth category. See the Washington Post's description:

Then, when the defense had just begun to question her, Hicks seemed to grow emotional. She reached in her bag, possibly for a tissue. The judge asked if she needed a break, and when she said yes, jurors were excused from the room.

Hicks and the jurors both returned a short time later, and she resumed her testimony.

The jurors did not miss out on any evidence. They're not required to be excluded in that circumstance, but it's nice to not force them to sit there doing nothing, and it helps preserve their attention if they are given breaks when possible.

  • Thanks for answer. Can you clarify, why can't the jury stay in the courtroom if nothing is happening?
    – Allure
    Commented May 6 at 3:18
  • Can't you take a break in the courtroom? I'd have thought these days most people's idea of a break is to look at their mobile phones for a while, which can be done anywhere.
    – Allure
    Commented May 6 at 3:37
  • 1
    @Allure there are protocols to be followed in court - the jury must remain sitting in the jury box. Letting them leave allows them to stretch their legs, make phone calls, grab a snack, visit the toilet, etc.
    – Dale M
    Commented May 6 at 3:59
  • 1
    @Allure: You probably don't want the jury around to overhead strategy discussions by the attorneys, outbursts by the defendant, chitchat by spectators about inadmissible evidence, shouted questions from reporters, etc. Commented May 6 at 4:10
  • @Allure the last time I served on a jury (which was in a different state), mobile phones were not allowed to be on in the court room (at least for the jury members, I'm not sure about everyone else) so I don't think your example of a break would work if they are still confined to the court room.
    – uberhaxed
    Commented May 6 at 18:19

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