How Do Jury Selections Work?
The American judicial system allows everyday citizens to determine the fates of their fellow peers standing on trial for civil or criminal offenses. Individuals chosen for such a responsibility serve on ruling entities known as juries.
William Brennan, a Philadelphia criminal lawyer, wants prospective clients and informed parties to realize jury selection is subject to a specific process.
Juries can be called upon to hear civil cases like slip and fall accidents, major criminal procedures involving individuals facing murder charges, and everything in between.
In criminal cases, these adjudicating entities usually have 12 members. However, in civil proceedings, jury membership can be as few as six and as large as 12.
To qualify as a juror, you must be at least 18, reside in the county for which you receive a summons, be literate, and not have been convicted of a crime punishable with incarceration for no less than one year.
If selected, your mandates will be to carefully listen to a case’s facts, review said information without prejudice, conduct no independent research or investigation, not be swayed by public opinion or media reporting, and ultimately render a ruling based upon your convictions.
The Selection Process
Courts obtain the names of potential jurors from sources such as motor vehicle records and voter registration databases.
If you are chosen for jury duty, the court in question will send you an official correspondence called a summons. This document contains pertinent information including the court’s address, your juror number, and the date and time when you are to either report in person or call a hotline to find out if your number is called.
An important aspect of selecting a jury is the identification of candidates who possess the capacity to be impartial and not be influenced by underlying beliefs. Those participating in trials like judges or attorneys might weed out those incapable of executing such duties in a process known as voir dire.
During this proceeding, you will be asked specific questions designed to measure your impartiality. Should you demonstrate any level of partiality, prejudice, or particularly strong views, you might be excluded from consideration.
If chosen, you will be assigned to a trial. Typically, both civil and criminal proceedings do not last longer than several days. However, more complex cases might necessitate more extended commitments.
Moreover, jurors serving on trials are usually allowed to return home following the completion of each day’s happenings. Sequestering does occur. However, this usually only occurs during high profile criminal trials.
If you have questions about the jury selection process and require the services of a criminal law defense attorney, please reach out to us. Additional information about our firm, the cases we handle, and the triumphs we have attained can be found by visiting https://www.philadelphiacriminallaw.com/.