Protecting the Jury
The legal preliminaries necessary to establish the qualifications of a witness are long and tedious. If the opposing attorney takes issue with the witness’s qualifications or testimony, these objections will usually be discussed outside of the presence of the jury. First, the jury will be removed from the courtroom. Then the lawyers and judge spend several minutes discussing the legal issues involved, and finally the jury is brought back into the courtroom. The effect is to break up the flow of trial, making the proceedings confusing and frequently tense. In a hotly contested case, there can be days of hearings on evidence before the jury is impaneled and, once it is sitting, the jury may be out of the room for more than half of the trial.