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Inside the Box: How Juries are Chosen


The jury is a specific body that is consists of a group of 12 individuals who are randomly chosen to hear the evidence provided and give an impartial verdict in connection to cases submitted to them from the court. They investigate whether the evidence is strong enough and reliable to bring someone into the trial court. Thus, to assure that the trial and investigation process will be free from any controversies, a trustworthy and responsible jury is what you need.

So, how are the juries chosen? Well, they undergo the process called “jury selection”. Jury selection is composed of many methods used to select the best person who will be a part of the jury. In a real situation, even though they say that a jury must be impartial, the lawyer himself or herself spots potential juror that will be in favor of their client and eliminate those jurors who are in favor of their opponent. Thus, the list of this jury came from the driver license, state ID renewals and voter registrations.

Jury Selection

From those lists, the court staff will mail summons to the prospective jurors. Then, if the number of a certain person is randomly picked, he or she will be asked to join a group of people who can possibly be a part of the jury. Moreover, upon selecting the possible jurors, they will be allowed to go to the courtroom. The charges against the accused group, company or individual will be read out. Thus, if your number was being picked in the ballot, then, you must answer the following questions being ask to you by the court staff:

  • Do you know somebody who is involved in this trial?
  • Do you already know about this case?
  • Do you think you can remain impartial even after hearing those charges and accusations against the defendant?

Then after that, another ballot will be taken and lastly, the final list of the names with its corresponding number that are randomly picked will be the one to serve as the jury. Those person who are not anymore challenged by the lawyer can sit already in the jury box but if the lawyer calls “challenge” before you have sit on the jury box, then it only means that you are not needed in the trial. If you are not chosen that day, don’t lose hope for the court staff may call you in case they needed you in some parts of the case. Moreover, additional jurors are needed if the trial ran for a lengthy period of time already.

Furthermore, if you are chosen to be one of those jurors, then the judge has already a direct control over you in terms of the trial proceedings. Thus, there are some cases that the judge will ask you to sleep overnight at a well-guarded and safe place together with the other jurors. In addition, becoming punctual all throughout the trial proceedings is needed to avoid delayed trials. If in case you have problems in meeting the requirements set by the judge, then you must talk to your jury officer to make better adjustments.

Courtroom

The duty of a jury is very complex. The things that they have witnessed or know about the trial proceedings must not be disclosed to anyone even to their fellow jurors and to the witnesses, lawyers or anybody else who are involved in the case. Likewise, jurors are also not permitted to talk or ask questions to the witnesses. As much as possible, the information must be secured all the time, especially as the trials are not yet done or finished.

In some instances, the lawyer can dismiss the juror if he or she believes that the juror is having a prejudiced statement about the case. In addition, a lawyer has the right to eliminate a certain juror if the accused individual is the juror’s relative, family, workmate or friend. Thus, this will eliminate the doubts of all the people involved in the case.

Generally, the jury’s role in a trial is not a joke. It’s not that easy to interpret and evaluate the evidences filed and give an impartial verdict, whether the accused person is guilty or not. Thus, at some point, you will be insulted by a lawyers who thinks that you are opposed to his or her client’s case.

Of course, admit it or not, in the real scenario, since clients are the ones paying the lawyers, he or she will make sure that they will win the case over their opponent. So, for this reason, the lawyer makes sure that the jury who will sit in the jury box will be of help in his or her client’s case. In addition, if you will be a jury, then you will also experience sleepless nights, thinking if your family is safe and in good hands. You can even be threatened if you make a negative statement against the defendant.


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