Sidebar conference legal definition of sidebar conference
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n. 1) physically, an area in front of or next to the judge's bench (the raised desk in front of the judge) away from the witness stand and the jury box, where lawyers are called to speak confidentially with the judge out of earshot of the jury. 2) a discussion between the judge and attorneys at the bench off the record and outside the hearing of the jurors or spectators. 3) in journalism, a brief story on a sidelight to a news story, such as a biographical sketch about a figure in the news or an anecdote related to the main story, and sometimes enclosed within a box. (See: bench, approach the bench)
sidebar (US) a discussion between the judge and the lawyers outwith the hearing of the jury in the court itself In the UK, the love of form and ceremonial means that the jury have to trek out to the jury room from time to time - usually much to their bafflement as to what is going on when they are not there.
References in periodicals archive
Miller chose to plead guilty yesterday after his lawyer and the prosecutor discussed the case privately with Judge Henry during a sidebar conference
And on many matters--granting demands for sidebar conferences
or more time to question witnesses, for instance--judges may accurately calculate that they face possible scrutiny from appeals courts if they take a hard line, but relatively little chance of such trouble if they let the lawyer have his way.
The trial included more than 300 sidebar conferences