Can the trial court allow jurors to ask the witnesses questions?
In the Interest of J.T. (Waco 2019) (10-19-00298-CV)
Facts: The trial court permitted the jurors to submit questions to the witnesses over Mother's objection in this suit to terminate her rights. The trial court submitted over 165 juror questions to witnesses. The jury terminated her rights, and mother appealed.
Result: It was error to allow jurors to ask questions of the witnesses. Allowing the jury to submit questions "probably caused the rendition of an improper judgment or probably prevented the appellant from properly presenting the case to this Court." Citing Tex. R. App. P. 44.1(a). Allowing juror questions makes it impractical, if not impossible, to isolate the impact of the evidence received in response to those questions and determine what, if any, impact it had on the judgment. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial.