updated 6/21/2004 4:04:03 PM ET 2004-06-21T20:04:03

Starting July 1, Colorado will be the first state to allow jurors to submit questions to witnesses on stand during criminal trials. This type of action has previously been allowed in civil court cases.

Many states have been looking for ways to incorporate the jurors into trials, so both the defense and prosecution could clear up any discrepancies the jurors might have concerning the case and the potential verdict. Colorado jurors will be trained on how to apply this rule to cases and determine the structure of the questions that can be asked.

This new rule will go into effect most notably during the Kobe Bryant trial. The jurors will have the chance to open up issues both legal sides might like to avoid. Allowing the jurors to questions witnesses can also serve as an advantage to the lawyers because it shows the jurors they are attentive to their personal concerns about the case.

Bryant pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault but if convicted he faces four years to life in prison, 20 years to life on probation and a fine up to $750,000.

Associated Press contributed to this report.


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