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BAILIFFS CAN MAKE GREAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR STORY

I want to talk about some people operating in the legal system who move around enough or who have enough information that they might be useful to your stories. I’m going to tell you about them every once in a while. My book The Writer’s Guide to the Courtroom: Let’s Quill All the Lawyers has loads of suggestions if you need more.

Today, I’ll talk about bailiffs.

Bailiffs keep order in the court. If your character’s cell phone goes off, if there is talking, or if someone gets violent, the bailiff is the one who will remove the offending party. They see and hear everything that goes on in court. It’s their job is to observe.

As characters, they can be witnesses, blackmailers, or heroes. They protect the judges if there is any violence, and they protect the jurors, witnesses, and lawyers as well. They frequently have to lend a hand checking lawyers in for hearings, handling evidence, calling witnesses in, and other administrative tasks.

One of my favorite things about bailiffs is they escort the jury to and from the jury room, and stay outside the door to make sure they stay safe, sequestered, and get what they need. This means they are in a great place to observe any shenanigans that take place during jury deliberations.

Some of what a bailiff might witness in your story:

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