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New MI rules would let jurors question witnesses

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network


The state Supreme Court has adopted new rules for people serving on juries that will allow jurors to take notes and ask questions of witnesses.

Under the new rules, a juror who wants to ask a question would pass a note to the trial judge, who would decide whether it's appropriate before asking a witness to answer it. The rules will also allow jurors to take notes and use them during deliberations.

Chief Justice Robert Young says the new rules treat jurors like grownups, and will help them make better decisions.

"The last time adults who are sitting as jurors were required to learn and make decisions while being asked to sit quietly and not ask questions was when we were in kindergarten," he says.

The rules will also allow jurors in civil cases to discuss the evidence with other jurors prior to the conclusion of arguments. That's still not allowed in criminal cases, but that could change depending on how the Supreme Court rules in a case pending before it.

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