Participants in a Trial

  • Judges preside over the trial, instruct the jury, make rulings on points of law, and have general charge over the proceedings of the trial and its participants.
  • Parties in a civil trial are referred to as the plaintiff and defendant. In a criminal trial, parties are referred to as the State of Washington, represented by the deputy prosecuting attorney; and the defendant (the person charged with the crime).
  • Attorneys participate in the trial as advocates for the parties in controversy by presenting their client's case.
  • Witnesses present testimony under oath concerning what they have seen or know about the facts of the case.
  • Court reporters record verbatim everything that is said during the course of trial. The court reporter is responsible for preparing a typewritten transcript of the trial if requested by either party.
  • Law clerks / bailiffs are assistants to the judge. They are responsible for opening court, assembling the necessary parties, and maintaining order in the courtroom. Additionally, the bailiff sees to the comfort of jurors and protects the jury from outside interference while they are serving on a specific trial.
  • Court clerks are independent witnesses during proceedings who produce a general minute entry for filing in the court file, administer oaths, mark and maintain custody of exhibits, receive verdicts, and exercise other powers and duties conferred and imposed by statute.