Why Do Judges Whisper to Lawyers?

 Why do lawyers and the judge whisper between one another during a trial up by the judge’s bench?

Usually, they are discussing whether certain testimony or other evidence should be heard or seen by the jury. The law of evidence governs what jurors should hear and see during a trial. When the lawyers are trying to introduce evidence before a jury or keep the jury from hearing it the discussions of the evidence will often reveal what the evidence is. If the law says that the jury shouldn’t hear or see that evidence then it would be foolish to have the jury hear the discussion about the evidence. This type of conference is called a “side bar.” 

Sometimes, the judge will ask the jury to leave the courtroom during these discussions. This is called a “jury-out hearing.”

On other occasions, the judge has a side-bar conference to address scheduling or other issues.  

The judge will ask the jury to ignore such conferences, and each juror should do so.  

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