Depending on the positioning of your case, it may be headed to trial. This is likely if the prosecution fails to provide you with a proper plea agreement or if you simply want to try to beat the charges brought against you. And while you need to assess the evidence that the prosecution is likely to levy against you and build arguments that effectively counter it, you can’t overlook some of the logistical strategies that you need to address in the early stages of your case. This includes jury selection.
Why you should care about jury selection
Jury selection might seem like a minor or even boring part of your case, but it actually carries great significance. This is because the men and women who are chosen to serve on your jury will have your future and your freedom in their hands.
Making matters more complicated is the fact that these jurors come to the table with their own biases and their own lived experiences, which may taint the way that they view your case. In other words, if you’re not careful with your jury selection, you could be leaving your fate in the hands of those who have prejudged you.
How jury selection works
So how do you select an appropriate jury? It starts with the court calling in a pool of potential jurors. Then, one-by-one, you and the prosecution have the opportunity to ask those potential jurors questions.
These questions are targeted at eliciting those potential jurors’ biases. If during questioning you identify a bias that could affect your ability to obtain a fair trial, you can request that the potential juror be removed from the jury pool “for cause.” The prosecution has the same ability. There is no limit on the number of “for cause” challenges that you can make.
Each side is also given a limited number of peremptory challenges. Here, you and the prosecution can request that a potential juror be removed without providing a reason for doing so. Therefore, if you just have a bad gut feeling about a juror, you can use a peremptory challenge to have them removed.
However, keep in mind that you can’t remove jurors based on a discriminatory intent, and if the prosecution suspects that you’re doing so, the court may require you to provide justifications for your requests.
Finalization of the jury
After all challenges are made, you should be left with the appropriate number of individuals to serve on the jury. However, if you’re left without enough people to serve on the jury, the process will likely have to start all over again.
Protect your interests throughout your criminal case
There’s a lot at stake in your criminal case. And improperly handling any aspect of your case could lead to conviction and the imposition of serious penalties. These penalties can have a devastating impact on your life, which is why you need to do everything you can to protect your interests.
Although dealing with every aspect of your criminal case can be daunting, you don’t have to confront them on your own. Instead, you can decide to work closely with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help you fight for the outcome that you want.
By having one of these advocates on your side, you can rest assured that you’ll be properly represented throughout every part of your criminal case, which could increase your chances of beating the prosecution.
So, if you’d like to learn more about what a defense attorney can do for you, we encourage you to continue researching your representation options.