Those accused of crimes are entitled to due process. That term encompasses several rights, and one of them is a trial by a jury of your peers. Jury selection is one of the last legal activities prior to the beginning of the trial, and you should be present when this important task is accomplished. To understand more about jury selecting, read on.
To Speak the Truth
Voir Dire is the French term that means, loosely, to speak the truth. During voir dire, jurors are called upon and questioned for their suitability. What is considered suitable depends on what side you are on – the state or the defense. Voir dire often means a jury gets impaneled in a matter of hours. Some judicial systems speed the process up by having the potential jury pool answer several pages of questions rather than be questioned one by one publicly. This method is not only quicker but also provides more privacy to citizens that might be too embarrassed to speak frankly in public.
Basic Qualifications for Jurors
Voting rolls or driver's license records are usually the means for calling up a score of potential jurors for a trial. Usually, jurors must be a resident of the county, a citizen, be of sound mind and body, and not be a felon.
Voir Dire Procedures
There are no strict guidelines for choosing a panel of jurors, and great leeway is given when it comes to procedures. In most cases, the numbers must be whittled down by eliminating those with health difficulties, those who need to care for children or the elderly, those who cannot get off work, who don't have transportation, etc. Most of the time, jurors need to have a very good reason for not serving. Once the pool is down enough, the remaining potential jurors are asked about their links to those on trial, the judge, the attorneys, and others who will be participating in the trial. Those are excused.
The Final Vetting
As the pool gets smaller, the questions get more focused. The defense and the state are each looking for a certain juror – one that might be more sympathetic to their side. Age, occupation, sex, income level, and more demographic information is used to determine juror's views on capital punishment, their ability to grasp technical materials (like DNA), and how much they care about crime victims.
Speak to your criminal defense attorney to learn more about the jury selection process.Share
19 June 2019
Like many people, I once found learning about law very intimidating. My brother went to law school and I remember glancing through a few of his books and wondering if I was actually reading English due to all of the legal jargon in them! However, when I ended up in a sticky legal situation due to accidentally breaking a small law I didn't know existed, I realized that I needed to learn more about the law, so I could make sure to follow it precisely in the future. My brother helped to break down some complicated legal concepts to me, and I have since been studying up online. I want to post what I have learned and continue to learn about law in the future on my new blog, so my knowledge cannot only help myself, but also help others!