Once silent, jurors in some Kentucky courtrooms are taking a more active role in criminal and civil trials. Some, however, say that can disrupt the process, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. Jurors asked 69 questions during a recent trial before convicting the defendant of raping and kidnapping two women and unlawfully imprisoning a third woman and her child. Foreman Penny Thielmeier said the questions helped jurors feel more comfortable about deciding Bonner’s fate. The questions “helped us prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.
But critics, including some judges, say a slew of questions from the jury can cause difficulties. “Everybody becomes Perry Mason, and that becomes a problem because all you are doing is answering questions,” most of them irrelevant, said Circuit Judge Geoffrey Morris. Unlike some states, Kentucky allows jurors to take notes and question witnesses in both civil and criminal proceedings, provided they submit the questions in writing to the judge after the prosecution and defense have finished with their questioning.