Arizona Judicial Branch

Courtroom Personnel

There are many people in the courtroom. This page describes the courtroom personnel and their roles.

The judge has many duties in connection with a trial. The judge must see that the trial is conducted in an orderly manner according to prescribed rules and laws covering the selection of the jury, the presentation of evidence, the arguments of the lawyers, the instructions to the jury, and the rendering of the verdict. The judge decides on the appropriateness of the questions asked of jurors in jury selection and decides issues on juror qualifications and  requests for excusal. The judge must also rule on objections. The judge must tell the jurors what issues of fact they must decide, the laws which apply to the case, and what their responsibilities are. If there is no issue of fact for the jury, the judge must direct a verdict for the party entitled to prevail or otherwise dispose of the case.

The courtroom clerk sits at the desk to one side of the judge. The clerk is an officer of the court and documents what happens in a case, orders made by the court during the trial, and the verdict at the end of the trial. The clerk also administers the oath or affirmation to jurors and all witnesses before they testify and marks all exhibits when they are admitted in evidence.

A witness is a person who gives testimony during the trial.

A bailiff is charged with keeping order in the courtroom during a trial. The bailiff opens and closes the court each day and attends to the jury by sitting outside the jury room while the jury is deliberating on a verdict. Jurors should comply with requests of the bailiff while in the bailiff's charge.

The court reporter records, in shorthand or on a machine, everything that is spoken on the record in the courtroom. These notes may be transcribed if necessary. In some courtrooms the recording is made electronically without a court reporter.

The legal representative of a party in a trial is called a lawyer, attorney, or counsel.
  The county attorney or Attorney General is the prosecuting officer who represents the State of Arizona in criminal cases. 
In a criminal case, the person who starts a lawsuit is the State of Arizona, and the defendant is the person charged with an offense.
  In a civil case, the plaintiff (also called petitioner) is the person who starts a lawsuit, and the defendant (also called the respondent) is the person against whom the lawsuit is brought.