Although often overlooked, proper jury selection is critical to your criminal trial. You can’t afford to waste time or money selecting your jury. Be prepared. Learn how to select a jury, and how jury selection affects a criminal trial.
If you’re looking at a criminal trial in your future, it’s a good idea to know how jury selection works. You’ll be more proactive in your defense and know what a knowledgeable attorney should do during jury selection.
You need a professional criminal defense law firm to represent you long before jury selection. If you’re facing criminal charges in greater Seattle, Washington, contact Matthew Leyba and Leyba Defense PLLC.
How Jury Selection Works
It starts when a random citizen is called upon to serve jury duty. This person receives a summons and must appear in court.
Once there, they may or may not be called to take part in a case. If they are called for a case, before a person is assigned to that jury, they speak with the attorneys representing the prosecution and defense.
The attorneys take turns asking questions to the candidate. The potential juror answers these questions honestly. These questions can have to do with many things about the potential juror, including:
- Their medical background and state of health.
- Prior personal experiences with law enforcement.
- Any special skills or specific knowledge they have that might relate to the case.
Finally, jurors are asked if they will do their job to the best of their ability. Jurors are required to hear the facts of the case. They must form an impartial opinion from the evidence presented. A juror needs to pay attention and voice their opinion – no matter what other people might think.
Five Tips on Effective Jury Selection
The type of jury you get affects your criminal case. A juror’s personal narratives, biases, or prejudices could be all it takes to seal an unfortunate fate. And it can only take one negative juror to poison the entire galley.
Get smart on how to select a jury with these five tips on effective jury selection:
1. Identify the Ideal Juror for Your Case. The same way a small business owner should know all about their best customer, you want to identify the ideal juror for your case. For instance, if you’re up against a DUI charge, you might not want a MADD member on your jury.
2. Don’t Take Time Teaching Jurors About the Law. Jury selection is nothing like the courtrooms on TV. Lawyers don’t need to instruct jurors about how to do their job. They don’t need to lecture candidates about the importance of the law. A lawyer that does so is pontificating and wasting your time in jury selection. The Judge will handle jury instructions during trial.
3. Have an Open and Loose Conversation with the Jurors. Good lawyers don’t just stick to a script, they want to get a juror talking freely. This gives you a chance to see how they think. Candid conversation during the question phase gives you the opportunity to test a juror’s honesty.
4. Actively Listen to What Your Jurors Have to Say. When a potential juror takes control of the conversation, they will volunteer information about themselves. By actively listening and noticing what they choose to share, you get a sense of their character. Watch and listen to how a juror speaks. This is your best opportunity to feel out their personality. Look for Characteristics that matter. Get someone coachable that takes the job seriously
5. Make Sure You Speak With Every Juror. The careless lawyer will strike a potential juror without a second thought. But with every juror removed, there’s a chance you can get “stuck with” someone. Even if you can’t deselect a juror, you still need to know as much as you can about them. A seasoned lawyer makes sure they’ve spoken to every juror during the appropriate pretrial phases. You don’t want to end up with a question mark on your bench–know how all your jurors think.
Jury Selection Affects Criminal Trials – Get the Right Criminal Lawyer
During jury selection, you want to ask questions that relate to your case, see how a person thinks, and get insight into the process they used to form their opinions.
Be prepared for your criminal trial jury selection. Make sure you have a qualified legal professional to fight for your rights.
If you need a Seattle criminal defense attorney, contact Matthew Leyba. Leyba Defense practices several areas of criminal defense, including assault, theft, minor in possession, and DUI related offenses. Ensure your rights – call Matthew Leyba now.