The Jury

I love the courtroom--mainly because of the jury.  


As a former litigator, I enjoyed working with clients and I looked forward to presenting cases to jurors.  Too often, I think, jurors are overlooked by the general public.  There is a lack of understanding about the important role they serve.  Of the sacrifice.  Of the struggle.  And of their commitment to ensure our justice system operates fairly for everyone. 


I tried more than a hundred cases as an attorney, and  have presided over roughly the same number as a judge.  (At any given time, I have about 175-250 open cases pending before me.)   I will never cease to be impressed by the jurors who serve every day in our courtrooms.  They do not volunteer to be here.  This is not their job.  Generally, they would like to be somewhere else.  But they understand the critically important position they hold in our system of justice.  They take the responsibility seriously.  They act with integrity.  And, in the end, they find the experience very rewarding.

Following each trial, I talk with the jurors to thank them for their service and answer their questions.  I also invite them to share their overall impressions of my courtroom, my staff, the attorneys who appeared before them (to share only with those attorneys), and the overall process of serving as a juror.


Here are some of their thoughts about the experience.  I thank them for their kind words.

(As an added benefit for those of you going through the list, there is a question I am always asked by the jury at the very end.)

                                                                           -- Judge Koch

 

What Jurors are Saying
About Judge Koch

"The judge embodied everything I would hope a judge to be; he was fair, patient, competent, and welcoming.  He knew when to be serious and when to lighten the mood. 
He was extremely professional."

"The judge restored my faith in the system."

"Judge Koch was impartial throughout the trial, and after serving on this jury I have more faith in our justice system in large part due to this fact."

"I feel much better about our (local) criminal justice system.  We only hear about the mistakes, incompetence, or corruption.  It was a privilege to see that a relatively modest matter is accorded the same attention and duty to justice
as anything we read about in the news."

"I'd just like to thank the courtroom staff, the judge/clerks/[court] reporter for confirming what faith I have in our criminal justice system and for being so professional and helpful.  Thank you for your important work -- I know it is not easy."

"Judge was personable and human.  Commanded the room but also put us at ease."

"Extremely warm + compassionate, conveyed gravity of our duty without scaring people.  Very clear + understandable in giving directions.  Funny, easy manner put us at ease."

"Judge seems cool, fair, mildly entertaining. 
Reminds me of the new 'Maytag Repairman' (actor Colin Ferguson)."

"Extremely professional + came across as very fair to both sides. 
Very inviting + made everyone feel comfortable."

"The judge exhibited the highest level of professionalism."

"I was extremely impressed with Judge Koch in all aspects of the trial."

"He was excellent!  Showed true professionalism and compassion."

"I particularly liked that the 'All Rise' was for the jurors.  In movies it is always for the judge, but this judge was already there.  This gesture increased my sense of how vital our role is, and the respect was welcome."

"I think Judge Koch dealt with [the self-represented defendant] with compassion and fairness during some times when she responded antagonistically/argumentatively. 
He was very knowledgeable, friendly and calm/relaxed which I appreciated."

"The judge's patience with everyone in the courtroom was remarkable.  He maintained a professional environment but was also approachable + relatable."

"The judge was very kind throughout the trial.  He was very patient & fair.  He kept in mind/seemed to care a lot about everyone involved & always insured we had enough breaks & such.  He was also very polite to everyone."

"Judge Koch did an amazing job of making everyone comfortable.  I was nervous at first but his cool demeanor put me at ease.  He was very professional and explained everything clearly."

"I was so nervous to serve.  Judge Koch immediately made me feel comfortable with his explanations, body language/facial expressions and sense of humor, genuineness and his ability to put me/us at ease on being a part of this honored privilege to serve.  Thank you !!!  Informative, reassuring, comfortable."

"Provided a welcoming & comfortable experience,
while maintaining the serious element required in a courtroom."

"Judge Koch was very personable and likable.  Spent time explaining  the role of the jury in a positive way.  Made jurors feel extremely comfortable."

 

"The judge was great.  Explained things very well to us and seemed very attentive to our needs.  He was very thankful for our service as jury members."

"Very impressed with Judge Koch -- respectful, clear, thorough, calm, personable, sagacious.  If I ever have to be in court, I would wish he were assigned to my case."

"Judge Koch was exceptional.  He treated everyone with such respect and good humor.  I appreciated his attention and commitment to educating and informing the jury throughout the trial.  Now that I can talk about the experience, I will keep spreading the word on how fantastic Judge Koch is!"

"I thought serving on a jury was a really interesting experience.  I think Judge Koch's respectful and patient demeanor made it a quality experience and I learned a lot."

"Judge Koch made everything better.  He is a wonderful man."

"He expressed calm restraint and character as he presided."

"Very impressed with the calmness, fairness and friendliness of Judge Koch. 
I'd be happy to serve in his courtroom again."

"I really appreciated Judge Koch's humor, openness, and ability to communicate with the jurors at the appropriate level of understanding.  I learned so much!"

"I sleep well knowing accomplished people like Judge Koch are on the bench."

"Bill was awesome.  First and hopefully only time in court ever, and Judge Koch made it somewhat light and enjoyable."

"Judge Koch did an amazing job of keeping control in his courtroom and provided clear instructions and patience to a nervous jury.  His kindness was greatly appreciated!"

"Judge Koch set a professional, respectful, open and communicative atmosphere. 
He instructed and explained things every step of the way."

"Judge Koch had a wonderful demeanor! 
It was a pleasure being part of a jury in his courtroom."

"Very professional, yet easygoing and relaxed.  He made the courtroom experience very positive.  He gives me great confidence in our judicial system."

"My experience in Judge Koch's courtroom was the best of the 3 times I have had as a juror or candidate as a juror."

"Judge Koch was amazing.  He made the experience not so tense but also kept it very professional.  He was patient with everything.  It makes me care more about judges."

"I felt Judge Koch displayed an exemplary amount of fairness, as well as patience in this case [involving a self-represented defendant]."

"I was very impressed with Judge Koch.  He was incredibly patient, professional, and fair. 
I also appreciated his humor during long days!"

"Was very fair & patient with defendant who was representing themselves."

"Judge Koch had a wonderful disposition.  He made us feel like our role was vital. 
He was clear with instructions and very nice to work with."

 

"Judge Koch made me feel very comfortable being in his courtroom. 
Everyone else is so serious they don't even smile, but the judge was very pleasant & smiling."

"I was very impressed withJudge Koch.  It's refreshing to see that a judge can do a great job and still operate with compassion & humility.  Not at all what I expected."

"The judge was excellent, was the best part of the experience."

"Judge Koch did a phenomenal job of keeping the mood light + the experience as pleasant as possible under rather depressing circumstances.  He was absolutely delightful."

"Judge [Koch] displayed admirable professionalism and fairness in court, was incredibly thorough and patient throughout the whole process, and exemplified the highest level of judicial trustworthiness."

"Judge Koch was extremely compassionate and respectful to everyone in the courtroom.  He made the jurors (we were stressed and nervous) feel at ease."

"I really liked Judge Koch.  I found him to be very fair. 
He was great at giving instructions and it was a pleasure to be in his courtroom."

"Judge Koch's approach was very respectful and helped to make the courtroom comfortable in a stressful situation.  I was impressed with the respectful and objective framework that was presented to all.  I admired his work throughout the process."

"...he really emphasized the need to be fair to both sides.  Judge Koch had a perfect mix of professionalism and warmth.  He helped to make the experience less stressful. 
We all took the duties seriously."

"Outstanding ability to communicate procedural issues and reasons for events that occurred and the way the jury should interpret those events."

"Excellent.  Way above what I expected.  Judge Koch was fair and recognized the value of our time.  He went above and beyond and in my opinion was the best part of the process."

"Judge Koch struck an excellent balance between putting us @ ease, yet keeping us focused on the task @ hand--and made sure we took it seriously."

"Excellent judge.  Informed, very thorough, funny.  We loved this guy!"

"The Honorable Koch was great!  He brought just enough humor to make it interesting and not too stiff & serious.  I appreciated how much he stressed our importance to the case & justice system.  I hope for all jurors that every judge is like him."

"Wonderful demeanor."

"As the defendant was representing himself the judge needed to provide a bit of assistance to the defendant.  I did not feel that there was favor provided to either side.  I feel the judge showed remarkable patience with the jury present in the courtroom."

"I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the time I spent with Judge Koch. 
He really established a collegial work environment."

"Very professional.  Pleasure to work with.  Very much appreciated the way he would stop + look + talk directly to us when a term or something came up, he would always explain,
yet not make you feel stupid."

"Judge Koch was a large reason that I feel my juror/trial court experience was a good one.  He was friendly, timely, considerate, clear and knowledgable and very personable."

 

"Judge Koch created a very positive experience for a first time juror.  He brought lightness to a very heavy subject matter.  He was clear w/ instruction + patient.  He never seemed biased + made me feel positive about the justice system."

"The judge was courteous, fair and informative.  I felt Judge Koch had a great balance of being professional while being extremely human with both jurors and officers of the court."

"Judge was always calm + patient, as well as positive + friendly toward all.  Respectful.  Good demeanor with the young witnesses.  He seems like an excellent judge overall. 
(Thank you!)"

"The judge was kind and put the jury at ease so that they could focus on the case.  He was very approachable and answered all questions with patience.  At times he was hilarious but very appropriate.  Years of experience was evident and I hope all cases are handled with such professionalism in the Hennepin County District Courts and similar to my experience in Judge Koch's courtroom.  Very impressed!"

"Judge Koch, thank you very much for making an apprehensive experience into a tolerable one that was educational and informative.  I don't know how you and your staff do this every day but I am grateful you do!"

"Judge Koch was the utmost in intelligent, courteous + patient communication.  He was thorough, clear, yet concise with instructions.  Very kind to all witnesses, no matter their situation."

"I was impressed with everything about how Judge Koch ran his courtroom.  It also helped when he had a bit of levity here + there as the entire process vacillated between tedious and stressful."

"He was an outstanding judge!!  He was very good at explaining everything to the jury."

"He was a bright spot dealing under disturbing circumstances."

"Judge Koch was straight-faced and stoic throughout the trial aside from his extremely pleasant demeanor in addressing the jurors.  He made the jury comfortable, welcome, and clearly demonstrated his respect and appreciation for our time and service."

"I was so impressed by Judge Koch that
I felt lucky to have been a part of this whole process."

"Judge Koch was very professional, thorough and patient.  He has to do the same thing every day but it appears to enjoy what he's doing.  Very nice + good judge!"

"Phenomenally skilled at 1) putting the jury @ ease + making the jury feel respected + valued, 2) expectations [management] - i.e. explaining time management challenges + managing accordingly.  Masterful."

"Judge Koch did such a nice job making us all comfortable. 
Everyone was nervous and he really put us all at ease.  Thank you!"

"Judge Koch was wonderful!  I found him to be sincere and felt very informed about all aspects of the trial as we as serving on the jury.  His courtroom was actually an enjoyable place to be."

"Being the 1st time in my life for an experience like this the judge made us feel very comfortable and free to express ourselves.  His refreshing smile kept us going throughout the trial.  God bless you."

"Judge Koch made the jury feel very comfortable.  He was fair and had a calm demeanor throughout the trial and stayed late on a Friday afternoon to answer our questions on the process."

"Because of the judge's delightful, relaxed courtroom it made it possible for the jurors to feel at ease, focus on the case, hear the judge's instruction, enjoy the experience & feel like the time spent was worthwhile."

"Was really taken by his kind manner toward all involved, his helpful explanations along the way & his follow up afterwards."

"Obviously, as with every other juror in existence, jury duty was a huge inconvenience to my professional life/schedule.  But if that hadn't been the case, I would've absolutely loved my service.  It's fascinating to see the actual goings on in a trial: the strategy, what is and is not admissible evidence, the skills of the attorneys and their individual styles, even the actual number of people involved in producing a fair trial.  It's impressive and I thank all of you for your service in this important process + for making my experience a plesant one."

 

"I thought the judge was exceptionally respectful of the jury and at all times
attentive to our needs."

"Judge Koch conducted this trial with fairness, impartiality, and efficiency--and a welcome touch of humor.  He explained the jury's role clearly and showed respect and consideration for the jury and for all participants in the trial."

"I truly appreciated how our breaks aligned with my prayer times.  I really appreciated the respect shown to me and my religion."

"Judge Koch was extremely professional.  He never showed any anger or frustration toward anyone.  He always remained calm, cool, and in control.  There was no doubt that he was in charge."

"Judge Koch was super chill, highly skilled at communication, very funny, efficient, fair, yet still possessing the ability to command respect.  He made this as painless as possible.  Kudos to you, sir!"

"It was a pleasure working w/ Judge Koch.  He takes his job seriously, while also creating a positive environment.  The State of MN/Hennepin Co. is extremely lucky to have him."

"Should I ever have the misfortune of standing before a judge, I would hope it would be a judge like William Koch."

"Judge Koch exemplifies a mast of one's profession.  He is a Grade A judge."

"Judge Koch really shined.  We were lucky to have him and he made the whole experience much better for all of us."

"It was a pleasure to serve in Judge Koch's courtroom.  Thank you!"

"I liked his sense of humor and how it didn't dismiss the seriousness when it was time to be serious."

"Judge Koch made the courtroom an environment of ease rather than "scary."  He explained things very well that made the process clear.  I appreciated his sincerity and his humor."

"The judge really does seem exceptional."

"Professional all the way!  Made experience enjoyable!!  Glad to serve in his court.  I felt respected and appreciated.  First time I was here, over 10 years ago, I felt like I was one on trial."

"Judge Koch was very professional, while also being personable, friendly, and his sense of humor kept things light.  But, he takes the case and the law very seriously. 
Judge Koch is also very fair, in my opinion."

"I would like to thank Judge Koch for making the environment in the courtroom comfortable and non-threatening in more than one way."

"Loved Judge Koch's friendly, casual demeanor. 
Helped with my nerves having never been a juror before."

"He is very good @ his job.  MN is lucky to have him."

 

"Thank you for the brief training on implicit bias -- very important to be on jurors' minds. 
You seemed kind to everyone."

"With minimal exposure to judges, Judge Koch made everything comfortable& light, while still instilling the importance of our role.  I hope other judges are as respectful, patient, & genuine as him."

"Judge Koch was very professional & informative in the courtroom but also made us feel safe and comfortable so I could do my job.  Thank you. 
P.S.  Put in a good word so I can serve again before I am too old!"

"Throughout the process, I felt very honored to be a juror and partake in the trial.  I was also impressed by my fellow jurors and our ability to voice our thoughts and know we were heard.  I wold like to say how truly impressed I was with Judge Koch in every aspect of the trial.  He was respectful, yet approachable.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on his jury."

"I was extremely impressed by Judge Koch.  I really appreciated that he explained all the steps thoroughly.  This helped me to feel more competent as a juror and more confident in my ability to perform my duties accurately and completely.  He was very respectful towards the jury, yet remained approachable enough that I felt I could ask any question."

Our jurors come from all backgrounds and represent all ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities, career fields, educational levels, and zip codes.  These different experiences and viewpoints grow and work together through jury service.  (It's pretty neat, and inspiring.)

"I would have liked to know if he agreed with the verdict."

(I always do.  --  Judge Koch)

 

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Let's Re-Elect Judge Koch

www.reelectjudgekoch.org