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Bailiff jobs are designed to maintain order in a courtroom. There are many different methods used to fulfill this responsibility, depending on the day of the week, what is going on in the court and what the judge has assigned the bailiff to do. Bailiff jobs often require skills in observation, memory and self-control. Whether the bailiff is tending to a jury or escorting a defendant from the courthouse to jail, he or she must always be aware of his or her surroundings.
Though baliff jobs might vary depending on the region, most bailiffs are charged with making sure that the courtroom runs smoothly. Courtrooms can become chaotic as defendants come and go, attorneys confer with each other and the need for witness testimony occurs. A bailiff's duties include commanding people in the courtroom to be quiet so the judge can conduct business. If there is a disturbance, the bailiff removes the person causing the disturbance. In addition, it is the bailiff's job to swear in witnesses just before they take the stand to testify.
A jury trial adds to the bailiff's duties, because he or she is charged with making sure that the jury members have no contact with the outside world during the trial or deliberations. If jury members are sequestered, meaning that they cannot go home for the duration of the trial, the bailiff staff must guard them around the clock. Censoring newspapers, television monitoring and escorting the jury from hotel to the courtroom are all part of a bailiff's job.
Bailiffs are often responsible for transporting defendants to and from the courthouse to appear in court. Defendants might become confrontational, so it is important that the bailiff maintains physical conditioning so that he or she can protect the public if the need arises. Bailiff jobs typically require certification to carry a handgun and going through periodic handgun training to keep skills sharp. If there are several defendants appearing in court that day, the bailiff oversees them as a group.
The safety of the judge depends on the bailiff's diligence in performing his or her duties. The bailiff will check the courtroom, restroom and hallways for dangerous items, such as explosive devices, and will watch for weapons being brought into the courthouse. He or she might monitor the electronic security of those who enter the courthouse. The bailiff will also announce that court is in session and explain the rules of the courtroom to attendees. Bailiff jobs are varied in nature, but every duty is geared to ensure that courtrooms are run safely and efficiently.