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How to behave in a state jury trial?

Salt Lake City, UT |

I have a jury trial coming up, I'm representing myself. City against me. 1 count Bad check charge. I do have substantial documents that could more than likely prove my innocence, How do I present these documents in trial, and how should I behave taking into consideration that I'm representing myself?

Sincerely thanks for your help;


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Attorney answers 3


Probably not a great idea to represent yourself but having said that you should dress like you are going to church. Listen very carefully to what is said and do not be argumentative.


Very good advice. You might want to sit in on a trial or two before your own. Get a feel for how non-testimonial evidence is "entered" and and in what order things occur (pick jury, opening, gov't case goes first, defendant goes 2nd, closing). A lot happens in between, but those are the basics. Its nothing like TV.


You may already know this, but you must make sure to file a WRITTEN jury demand before the final pretrial conference or the judge will dismiss the jury trial.

Also, there are strict rules of evidence governing what kind of documents you can submit to the court and how you must submit them. Usually, documents are considered hearsay unless there is a "custodian of the records" or someone else which can verify the authenticity of the documents. You must subpoena and serve the record keeper to force him to come and testify so you can get the documents into evidence. (Look at the Utah Rules of Evidence.)

Best of luck.

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