Common Law Court Officers: Description of Duties Kevin Annett

Common Law Court Officers: Description of Duties

(See the general Common Law Training Manual at

Court Officers:

1. The Jury Members

2. The Adjudicator or Magistrate

3. The Citizen Prosecutor

4. The Citizen Defender

5. The Court Reporter

6. The Court Registrar

7. The Bailiff(s)

8. The Court Sheriff(s)

1. The Jury: The twelve men and women who are chosen or who establish themselves as a common law jury are the heart and foundation of the common law court. They judge and rule on the guilt or innocence of the defendant(s) and formulate the law itself. The jury has the ultimate say in the case and their decision and verdict cannot be overturned or nullified by the Adjudicator or any other court officer. The Jury members’ task is to judge the presented evidence of the case for themselves in an atmosphere free of coercion and influence, and come to a decision based on their own reason and common sense. Their decision must be consensual and unanimous; lacking such unanimity, they cannot lawfully convict the defendant(s). That final decision is binding and cannot be appealed. The Jury is headed by a Chairman who coordinates their deliberations and communicates the verdict and sentence to the Court. The Jury may consult the Adjudicator for legal advice but not for guidance in their decision. The Jury may formulate new law in the course of their deliberations and rule on precedent cases.

2. The Adjudicator or Magistrate: Their role is to be a legal advisor to the Jury and a manager and facilitator of the court proceedings. The Adjudicator has no power to overrule or obstruct the deliberations or decisions of the Jury but is duty bound to help to enforce the Jury’s verdict and sentencing. The Adjudicator also safeguards the fair and due process of the court proceedings and maintains the lawful sanctity of the court, and has the power to recommend to the Jury actions to ensure that sanctity. This position is a learned and senior one that must be held by one well versed in common and statute law and in civil and criminal trial procedures.

3. The Citizen Prosecutor: The Prosecutor’s role is to conduct the Plaintiff’s case and seek a lawful conviction of the defendant. In many cases the Prosecutor will be the Plaintiff himself, or someone appointed by the latter to present but not represent the case. The Prosecutor must do so according to the rule of law, court procedure and due process, and is free and empowered to call on and subpoena any person, evidence or source as part of his case. The Prosecutor must collaborate with the Citizen Defendant in examining and presenting all of the evidence he intends to present in the court, and in respecting the duties and responsibilities of the other court officers.

4. The Citizen Defendant: The Defendant presents his own case in response to the action brought against him by the Prosector/Plaintiff, or delegates that presentation to another. He is bound by the same rights, responsibilites and conditions as the Prosecutor.

5. The Court Reporter: This officer records the entire proceedings of the Court and safeguards and along with the Bailiff maintains that court record and its transcripts until it is permanently archived by the Court Registrar. He may be called upon to recite aspects of the court record during the trial and to verify the veracity of statements made by anyone in court. He may also be consulted by the Jury in the course of their deliberations. The Court reporter is also responsible for entering all evidence submitted in court into the permanent record.

6. The Court Registrar: This officer is the permanent archivist of the court, and is responsible for storing, cataloguing and retrieving all evidence, transcripts and statements made in the court proceedings.

7. The Bailiff(s): Their job is to call the court to order, maintain its peace and order during trial, protect and escort witnesses and defendants while in court, and safeguard the Jury members during the entire trial, especially during their deliberations. Their authority is limited to the trial itself.

8. The Sheriff(s): This officer is the chief security and enforcement arm of the court. The Sheriff delivers Summonses, brings subpoenaed evidence and witnesses into Court, assists the Bailiffs in maintaining the security and order of the court, and enforces the sentences and verdict of the court and its jury. The Sheirff is empowered to deputize others as Common Law peace officers to assist him in his duties and enforcement role.