There Is No Time Limit For Jury To Decide Verdict In Johnny Depp And Amber Heard Trial
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The world is waiting to find out the verdict of the highly publicised Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, but they might be waiting a while as there is no time limit for the jury to make their decision.
For the past couple of months, the media has been dominated by the various moments of the defamation trial, which was streamed by Law & Crime Network from the Fairfax County courthouse.
After wrapping up on Friday (27 May), the jury are now left to decide whether Depp should claim $50 million in damages from Heard for a 2018 article she wrote for The Washington Post in which she described herself as a ‘public figure representing domestic abuse’.
The judge is not allowed to put a time limit. https://t.co/RNt8zaC4ii— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) May 31, 2022
Although some onlookers may be impatient for a verdict, jurors have a lot of evidence to get through, as revealed by executive producer for Law & Crime Network Cathy Russon.
Taking to Twitter today, 31 May, she wrote: “There are THIRTY-SEVEN pages of jury instructions for the #JohnnyDepp #AmberHeard jurors to go over and 8 verdict forms.”
In response, one person said: “That's insane! Did judge give them a time limit for when a verdict must be given?”
Russon replied: “The judge is not allowed to put a time limit.”
This is the case for all trials - there is no set time limit on how long or short deliberations can take, and the judge gives them as much time as they need.
Sometimes this can take a few hours, other times it can go on for days or even longer in particularly complex cases.
The jury have a tough job on their hands, as they’ve got to decide if Heard’s op-ed is about Depp as the piece didn’t explicitly name him and, if so, whether the statements were false and made with malice.
But they’ve also got to do the same for Heard’s $100 million counterclaim, which alleges Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman hurt her career by releasing statements to the media suggesting the Aquaman star and her friends created an ‘abuse hoax’.
Arguably the trickiest part, however, will be removing all emotional ties to the case.
Elaborating on this, Jamie R. Abrams, a University of Louisville law professor, told The Washington Post: “One challenge that they are likely facing is staying focused on the case at hand without allowing all of their own lived experiences and biases to lead them to a snap judgement that is not supported by the testimony.
“The jury instructions are very concrete in helping jurors do that focusing as a legal matter, but this is a real challenge on a human level.”