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Selecting a Jury in a Criminal Case

Jury selection, or voir dire, is a highly important part of a criminal case. Specific rules and procedures control the selection of juries in these cases. A jury consists of 12 persons in district court, which hears felony criminal cases, and six persons in county court, which hears misdemeanor criminal cases.

Typically, a district court will call 60 to 80 people to appear for jury selection in a criminal trial. The judge first addresses the potential jurors with opening remarks. Attorneys for the prosecution and defense then have equal amounts of time to question prospective jurors. They ask questions designed to determine if the jurors are biased in any way or have a conflict of interest concerning the case.

Selecting a Jury in a Criminal Case

Neither the prosecutor nor the defense lawyer can provide prospective jurors about the facts of the case. They also cannot question jurors as to how they would vote in certain situations if they were a juror.

If there is a legal reason to exclude a juror, then the attorney can exclude the juror for cause; attorneys for both sides have unlimited challenges for cause.

If there is a legal reason to exclude a juror, then the attorney can exclude the juror for cause; attorneys for both sides have unlimited challenges for cause. If there is no legal reason to exclude a juror, however, then the attorney can use a peremptory challenge to exclude the juror. Each attorney has ten peremptory challenges in a felony case and three in a misdemeanor case. Peremptory challenges are inappropriate if they are based on discriminatory factors, such as the race or gender of jurors. If the defense lawyer believes that a prosecutor’s peremptory challenge is unfair, they can make a so-called Batson challenge, which is named after the U.S. Supreme Court case that prohibits peremptory challenges based on discriminatory factors.

At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you obtain through your criminal law problems. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your criminal proceedings. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for gathering documentation to support your goals. Allow us to handle your criminal law case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.

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