Recently, we talked about the difference between jury trials and bench trials. In bench trials, the judge determines the credibility of evidence and hands out a verdict. While these trials proceed faster, they may not be the best choice depending on your circumstances.
Jury trials, on the other hand, have a “jury of peers” that deliberate to determine whether you’re guilty or innocent. Not all cases are eligible for jury trials, but many are. Before a jury trial can truly begin, however, a jury must be selected.
Though juries are technically chosen from a random selection, you have more control over a jury than you might realize.
It starts with a venire facias, which summons a pool of jury candidates, usually around 12 people. These people are chosen at random (pending certain requirements) from the local area. From here, the prospects are questioned to determine their eligibility.
Both the judge and the respective legal teams ask questions, looking for potential biases/perspectives that might unfairly sway their opinion in a particular case.
Each lawyer has a certain number of objections they make. These are called peremptory strikes (or challenges). This allows a lawyer to dismiss a juror without having to give a specific cause or reason. If your lawyer feels a particular juror might side against you, they’ll likely use a peremptory strike against them.
Additionally, any juror can be excused if just cause is given. This is ruled upon by the judge. Causes for dismissal could include something as serious as being the victim of a past crime or as mundane as their social media activity.
The US has one of the most in-depth jury selection processes in the world, allowing more pushback on who is ultimately chosen. The people who sit in your jury will determine whether you are guilty or innocent. It’s very important that you ensure they are open and unbiased to your case.
This is where a skilled attorney comes into play. Thanks to their experience, a good attorney is able to spot things about a particular juror that you might miss.
If you’re in need of quality lawyers in the Springfield, Ohio area, contact the team at Michael T. Edwards today. We can first help determine if a jury trial is the right way to go, and if so, make sure your case is handled fairly.