Anyone who is charged with a crime has a right to a trial by jury that is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. These jury members play an important role in the criminal trial because they will ultimately determine whether you are innocent or guilty. How are juries selected for your trial? Here’s a look at the process:
First, names will randomly be pulled from a pool of potential jurors, which is a list that is frequently updated by the state. The people that are pulled will receive a notice in the mail that informs them of the date and time they are expected to appear for jury duty.
“Voir Dire” Jury Selection
After the potential jurors have arrived in court, the lawyers and judge will select the 12 people that will sit on the jury through a process called “voir dire,” which is a French phrase that means “to speak the truth.” The judge will begin by asking each potential juror questions about their eligibility to serve on a jury. This may include asking about whether being a jury member will cause them undue hardship. If it will, the potential juror may be dismissed.
Challenging Jury Members
After the judge has finished, the lawyers will have a chance to continue the “voir dire” process by asking jury members questions. Lawyers will want to know if the jurors have any prior knowledge of the case that could affect their ability to be unbiased. Attorneys may also ask jurors personal questions to get a better idea of whether they are fit to hear this case. For example, an attorney who is defending someone who is accused of committing sexual assault may ask jurors about their own history with sexual assault. If a juror has been sexually assaulted in the past, it may not be in the defense’s best interests to have her sitting on the jury.
If a lawyer or judge feels that a potential juror will be biased when deciding on the defendant’s fate, the juror may be dismissed. In the example above, the sexual assault victim may rule against the defendant even if it is clear that he is innocent because of her own negative experiences. If a lawyer thinks a juror may be biased, the juror is not dismissed unless the judge grants the lawyer’s dismissal request.
Once both lawyers are satisfied with the selected jury members, the jurors will be officially sworn in by the court clerk and the trial will begin.
If you are facing criminal charges, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side through every step of the legal process. The attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will aggressively protect your rights and defend you against the charges. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.