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Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Hon. Marco A. Hernández, Chief Judge

Melissa Aubin, Clerk of Court

The District of Oregon uses the Jury Evidence Recording System (JERS) to display electronic exhibits to the jury during deliberations. This document describes the requirements and procedures parties and counsel are to follow when submitting electronic trial exhibits to the Court. To facilitate the use of JERS, parties and counsel should plan how exhibits may be prepared for electronic submission before they begin the discovery process and as they prepare exhibits for trial. Physical exhibits are to be handled in accordance with the trial judge's instructions.

Prior to Trial

The submission of the electronic evidence files should occur after the parties are reasonably certain that the lists are complete to avoid a piecemeal submission of files to the Court. See Submission Requirements for Electronic Trial Exhibits for more information on accepted file types, sizes, and other requirements.

How to Submit Electronic Exhibit Files

You will organize your exhibits in such a way that they can be imported into the Jury Evidence Recording System (JERS).

You will be responsible for numbering your exhibits and giving each a good description. The Court Room Deputy (CRD) will give it the prefix of Def or Pla.

This is what the Jury will see:

jers1

Load your exhibits onto a USB drive (thumb drive), DVD, CD, or external USB hard drive.

It is helpful to number your exhibits and give each a user-friendly description.

jers2

Electronic exhibits must be in the following formats:

  • Documents > .pdf
  • Images > .jpg, .gif., .png, .pdf
  • A/V Recordings > .avi, .mpg, .mp3, .mp4

File sizes must not exceed 500MB.

Exhibits exceeding this size limit must be separated into smaller files.

Images may be reduced in size by reducing their dimensions, usually with minimal effect on viewing quality.

PDF file types are to be in PDF/A format and should be reduced in size using tools and features like Adobe Acrobat's "Reduce File Size." (Information about PDF/A is available here).

Documents and images must be properly oriented for viewing.

Create a text file on your USB drive called Exhibits.txt

This will act as the instructions for the JERS software to import your electronic exhibits into the JERS database.

It has three components:

  1. Exhibit Number
  2. Exhibit Description
  3. Exhibit File Name

Separate each of those components with the "pipe" symbol: |

Example of Exhibits.txt file:

jers3

Exhibit Number

The Exhibit Number will be visible to the Jury.

It can have sub-parts (1a, 1b, 1c, etc.)

Do not include leading zeros in exhibit numbers.

Exhibit Description

Give a description that the Jury will find helpful.

DO NOT use prejudicial names or descriptions.

The Court may choose to release the exhibits without including the descriptions.

The only allowable punctuation in descriptions and file names are:  underscores, spaces, parentheses, and periods.

Example of one line of the Exhibits.txt file:

jers4

Exhibit Filename

Filenames must not exceed 208 characters in length.

Formatting Exhibits.txt

The Exhibit Filename in the Exhibits.txt must be the same as your Filename on the USB drive.

There are no spaces before or after the "|" symbol.

After the files are imported into JERS, they will be reviewed by the Courtroom Deputy Clerk (CRD). If there are any illegible exhibits or other file errors, the CRD will contact the offering party and request a corrected file. 

During Trial

At the conclusion of each trial day, parties may be required to review the exhibits admitted into evidence with the CRD in order to limit the time between closing arguments and when the exhibits may be released to the jury to begin deliberations. 

If necessary, additional exhibits may be submitted by the parties to the CRD during trial. The file type requirements outlined above still apply, and the electronic exhibit file(s) must be submitted on USB flash media (i.e., thumb drive), external USB hard drive, DVD, or CD. An Exhibits.txt file, however, will not be required. 

Final Review of Exhibits

Prior to closing arguments, the parties are to confer for a final review of those exhibits to be released to the jury. The parties should anticipate extra time for this review. Exhibits not marked as "admitted" will not be released to the jury. 

Prior to Deliberations

Jurors will watch a tutorial video explaining how to use JERS, which covers selecting and viewing documents; starting, pausing, and stopping videos; and other functions to review evidence.

Questions

Contact the Judge's Courtroom Deputy Clerk for questions regarding JERS.