When Texas state courts are preparing to hold a jury trial in a criminal case, they send out summonses to prospective jury members based on a list compiled by the Texas Secretary of State’s office for that county. This list contains the names of all individuals within the county who are registered to vote, hold a Texas driver’s license, or hold a Texas state identification card. Courts choose citizens from this list of names randomly and issue them a jury summons. Some courts also send out juror questionnaires to prospective jurors, either in advance of or simultaneously with the summons.
On the first date of the trial, a group of prospective jurors who have received summonses, which usually numbers about 50 or 60 people, gathers in the courtroom with the judge, lawyers for the prosecution, and lawyers for the defense. The person who is accused of the crime also is present in the courtroom, as may be additional court personnel, such as the court reporter. At some point, the judge will swear the jurors to an oath to tell the truth during the upcoming jury selection process.
Lawyers then conduct the questioning process known as “voir dire,” which allows them to ask a set of questions to individual jurors. The answers to these questions determine whether either or both lawyers will ask the court to dismiss prospective jurors, either based on cause or a peremptory challenge, which does not require a showing of cause. Each side of the case has a specific number of challenges that they can use concerning prospective jurors. Voir dire continues until the lawyers have selected a full jury, along with one to four alternate jurors.
At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.