what are the biggest differences between the courtroom on tv shows and the real courtroom?

can you list the differences between the two?

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Where to begin?

    As to the physical courtroom, during a trial:

    The area between the counsel tables and the judges' bench is called the "well", NO ONE is EVER allowed to walk in that area.

    When attorneys are questioning witnesses, they stand at a lectern placed behind and to one side of or between the counsel tables. They stand there, and are absolutely not allowed to stand next to the witness, except on very rate occasions, and only when the judge is first asked and says that it is permitted, for a limited, specific reason.

    Neither the judge nor any parties to a case or their attorneys leave or enter the courtroom while the jury is seated in the jury box. After all parties and attorneys are present, the judge then calls for the jury to be escorted into the courtroom. When a session is concluded, the jury is escorted out, then the judge leaves the bench, and only then may the lawyers and parties leave.

    Only the very rare, newsworthy case draws spectators, except for courthouse groopies, that spend their days in one courtroom or another. Most cases are tried with out anyone not involved in the case watching from the gallery.

    Conduct of a trial:

    The biggest single critical error tv and movies continually make is in the time element of cases. For many, many years, virtually all civil cases and major criminal cases in large cities took years to get to trial, civil cases normally taking five years till trial. In the past decade, various reforms have spend that up quite a bit, so that most civil cases go to trial in one to two years, but notorious criminal cases such as those most tv crime shows depict, still take a good year until they can get to trial. TV and movies also show fast appeals of cases. That is a total joke, as appeals also take years to be decided.

    The other major omission in the conduct of cases on tv/movies has to do with paperwork. TV/movies are basically paperless, while in reality civil cases involve voluminous paperwork. It is the absolute truth that every hour an attorney spends in a courtroom requires about five hours of work outside the courtroom, and that is NOT investigation like tv lawyers do (real lawyers do not do that themselves, they have investigators who do that), but rather research and writing discovery requests, preparing responses to discovery, interviewing and preparing witnesses, memorandums, motions and motion responses, briefs, pretrial conference statements, proposed jury instruction, the list goes on and on and on and ......... As to appeals, the filing and briefing process, before any oral argument, can take a year. After argument, it can take months or years for a decision to be issued.

    Source(s): Almost three decades as a trial lawyer.
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • xK
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It is not nearly that exciting or dramatic, lol.

    On shows like Law & Order, you know how the attorney rushes forward with "I just got this super important piece of information that will win the case!"? Yeah, you can't really do that. And how Matlock presents in his closing argument some shocking piece of information? Can't do that either. All evidence must be presented to the opposing side BEFORE court begins. There's a process called discovery that governs this, and if you didn't find or produce the document during discovery, you can't present it, period. You also get an opportunity to talk to all witnesses before trial, so rarely is there ever a moment where the witness says something that breaks the case; you already know what they're going to say, and if they say something different, you impeach them on account of what they testified to during their deposition.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    The courtrooms on the tv shows are a lot cleaner, and less cluttered, than in real life.

    In every courtroom I've been in, the bench (i.e. judge's desk) is strewn with papers and files. The judge's clerk's area is usually similarly disheveled.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Depends on how much the production company wants to stir up the image to earn more advertising.

    The show Blind Date would purposely join complete opposites who were sure to not get along, but it certainly drove up ratings.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    UK - the real court rooms are smaller than the TV ones, did you see Eastenders the other night when Ben Mitchell was in court? that is a UK court room.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • mrsd
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Real court cases can be very slow moving and boring.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.