Persons Found in a Courtroom

The most common venue for settling disputes of different types has long been the courtroom. When the court is in session, there are several people who play key roles. These include the parties to the suit, the judge, a jury, lawyers, and court officers. The court officers help facilitate the smooth flow of the trial, and these include the bailiff, a court clerk, and the court recorder. Here, we take a look at the persons one may typically encounter in the courtroom.


The judge presides over the courtroom and the proceeding. A judge can sit alone or as part of a panel. He listens to arguments from the parties involved, assesses the credibility of the witnesses and the evidences presented, and sees to it that the trial adheres to the rules of court. The judge then hands out a ruling based on the arguments presented and his interpretation of the law. In some cases, the judge shares some power with the jury (for trials by jury).


The complainant, the plaintiff is the party who initiates the lawsuit by filing a complaint with the court. In doing so, the plaintiff is seeking legal remedy from the defendant.


The defendant is the person or party that has been accused of violating the law or the one that is required to answer the complaint filed by the plaintiff. The defendant is normally informed of a lawsuit via a summons.


The lawyers argue their client’s case in court. They can represent either the plaintiff or the defendant. In some instances, however, the litigant may act as his own lawyer.


In jury trials, the jury serves as the judge of the fact. They listen to both sides and judge the innocence or the guilt of the accused. They give out a verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty”.


Also known as the court reporter or court stenographer, the court recorder is the person in charge of transcribing the verbal proceedings into written form. This can be done by using different methods such as stenography or digital recording. The purpose of a recorder is to have on file official transcripts of the court proceedings, giving the judges the capability to review any portion of the proceeding in an instant. In some states, a recorder must be a notary public who can administer oaths to the trial witnesses.


Typically one with a law enforcement background, the bailiff serves as an assistant to the judge when the court is in session. The bailiff also ensures the safety and security of the judge in the court, escorting the judge to and from his chambers. When the proceeding is ongoing, they announce the start of the session and the end of it. Sometimes, sheriff’s deputies, correction officers, or marshals are appointed as bailiffs. When bailiffs are appointed as peace officers, they have the power to make arrests in criminal cases provided that the arrest is made in the court and that the appointment is still valid.



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