The 14 members of the jury will be chosen based on their answers to certain questions asked by the judge. Jurors will receive a brief statement describing both the case and the parties involved. The judge will then question the jurors while they are seated on the jury stand. This is known as the voir dire process.
The first step in a trial is to select from the panel the number of jurors needed to try the case. As mentioned above, in a civil case there are normally eight members of the jury seated, six deliberating and the others selected as alternates. In criminal cases, 14 jurors are generally selected so that alternates are available. Jurors can be selected by drawing names or numbers from a box, or they can be randomly selected by computer.
If you are called as a potential juror, you must honestly answer all questions about your qualifications to serve as a juror in the case. Each of the lawyers or participants in the case has been provided with a jury list, which contains information about the name, address, and occupation of each juror. After arriving at jury duty, prospective jurors are randomly selected so that they can be part of the jury. As a next step, the judge will ask certain questions.
Afterwards, lawyers can present a summary of the case and ask the jurors questions: the voir dire. After such questioning, lawyers can request that jurors be removed for good cause. There are also peremptory challenges, in which a lawyer does not have to give a reason to request the removal of the juror. At trial, one of the first things the prosecutor and defense attorney must do is to select the jurors for the case.
Jurors are selected to hear the facts of the case and determine if the defendant committed the crime. Twelve jurors are randomly selected from the group of jurors (also called “venire”), a list of potential jurors compiled from the voter registration records of people living in the Federal District. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury in criminal cases. Jurors, then, are selected in a process known as “voir dire”, in which a group of judges and lawyers determines the competence and suitability of the potential juror for the case.
It's also important to note that mistakes made during the jury selection process can be appealed in a criminal case. It is often said that a case can be won or lost in jury selection, which means that it is a very important process and who is part of the jury does matter. Depending on the nature of the criminal case, certain voir dire questions may be asked to obtain information that may be relevant to the jury's view of the case. In federal criminal trials, the jury must reach a unanimous decision to convict the accused.
This is different from civil and criminal trials, in which, except in the case of family and juvenile matters, trials are open to the public. To make a guilty verdict in a criminal trial, charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This evidence includes things that can incriminate the accused, as well as evidence that can show that the defendant did not commit the crime. In a criminal case, the accused has the right to a trial by jury.
You also have a constitutional right to be presumed innocent of the charges until the jury determines otherwise. When the freedom of a criminal accused is at stake, it is of utmost importance to eliminate that bias. To accommodate situations where additional jurors may be needed, for example, if it is necessary to excuse a juror after the trial has begun, a larger number is initially selected than required in civil and criminal trials. The team of dynamic and compassionate criminal defense attorneys at Puglisi Law knows to what extent the defense's case can influence the jury's verdict.
In both a civil and criminal case, the judge instructs the members of the jury on the rules that will apply in the case. Each county's Office of Jury Management works with trial judges and criminal and civil division managers to schedule a sufficient number of jurors for the trials scheduled for each day. When a criminal offense is committed, it is the laws of the state that are violated and, therefore, the crime is against the people of the state. There are 23 members who deliberate as a grand jury, but no more than 12 who deliberate as a juvenile jury, either in a civil or criminal trial.