Regardless of the type of criminal charges that you’re facing, if you decide to take your case to trial then your future is going to rest in the hands of your peers. This is why the jury selection process is so pivotal to your case. And although it may seem like nothing more than a logistical process where you’re going through the motions, you can actually be very active in your jury selection to ensure that you obtain the fair trial to which you’re entitled.
How jury selection works
The jury selection process starts with the court summoning a pool of potential jurors. Once these individuals are identified, they are brought down to court where they’ll be subjected to questioning by both the prosecution and the defense.
Why do these questions matter? Simply put, each juror comes to the table with their own lived experiences, biases, and knowledge of your case. These characteristics could affect a juror’s ability to fairly and impartially judge your case. By questioning each juror, though, you can elicit these biases and better protect your right to a fair trial.
What your questioning can do
While examining a potential juror, you can request that he or she be removed from the jury pool if you suspect that he or she is biased in a way that will affect the fairness of your trial. When you try to remove one of these jurors “for cause,” you’ll have to specify your reasoning for requesting removal. If the judge agrees with you, then the juror will be removed, and you’ll move on to the next one. Keep in mind that the prosecution can request that a juror be removed, too.
You’ll also be given a number of peremptory challenges. Here, you can request that a juror be removed without providing a justification. So, if you suspect that a juror is going to negatively impact your ability to be judged fairly, then you can simply ask that he or she be removed. That said, if it appears that you’re removing potential jurors on the basis of race or sex, then you might be called out on it because this is considered discrimination and is therefore illegal.
Prepping for jury selection
As you prepare to take your case to trial, you also need to be ready to competently navigate the jury selection process. This means knowing how to examine potential jurors and search for biases that they may possess. It’s a skill that’s often under-recognized, and one that could be crucial to the outcome of your case. So, before moving forward with your case, be sure to discuss the logistics of jury selection in your case with your attorney.
Do you need an advocate in your corner?
Jury selection is just one of the many moving parts in your criminal defense. There’s no doubt that these matters can be extremely stressful, especially given the stakes at hand.
That’s why you owe it to yourself to build the strongest criminal defense possible under the circumstances. As daunting as that may sound, especially given the fact that your future is on the line, you can have a strong legal advocate by your side every step of the way. In many instances, this is the best way to ensure that you’re putting forth the best legal strategy — one that maximizes your chances of beating the prosecution and securing the outcome that you want.
Do want to learn more about how to build the aggressive criminal defense that you need? If so, then consider reaching out to a skilled criminal defense attorney who will know how to fight for you.