The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


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How the Jury Selection Process Works

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Criminal Defense

jury selecting process in Illinois, Kane County criminal defense lawyerOne of the most important stages of the trial is the jury selection process, commonly known as voir dire. This stage, often considered the beginning of the actual trial, sets the tone for the trial, and allows the lawyers to decide on who will actually be the group of people rendering the verdict. Naturally then, many defendants are curious about how the jury selection process works. Voir dire varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but generally it is a procedure process managed by the judge and the attorneys in which the attorneys attempt to select an unbiased jury that they can both agree on.

The Jury Selection Process

The jury selection process begins with a group of potential jurors being brought into the courtroom. Normally, the judge, attorneys, and defendants will also already be in the room. The judge will then often give a small speech about the importance of the jury process and the procedure of the day. Then, the judge will likely explain the charges, and ask if anyone in the potential jury pool knows anyone involved in the case, including the attorneys and witnesses. Once those people are excluded, voir dire begins in earnest.

During voir dire, the judge or the attorneys will usually ask questions about the jurors, such as their occupation, education, and any past interactions with crime or the criminal justice system. The goal of these questions is to expose jurors biases. If one of the jurors gives an answer that seems to show bias, such as if one of the jurors turns out to be a police officer, then a lawyer can use a "for cause" challenge.

In this challenge the lawyer makes their case to the judge about why the potential juror is biased. If the judge agrees, then the juror is stricken from the pool. Illinois law also allows a set of five "peremptory" challenges. These challenges allow lawyers to strike jurors from the pool without having to explain why to the judge, although they cannot use them on the basis of race or gender.

Jury Selection Strategy

The strategy for lawyers during jury selection is to select the jury that will be most favorable to their client. For instance, a juror who has been the victim of a similar crime in the past may be especially harsh on similar crimes in the future. Lawyers may also make educated guesses about the jurors' capabilities. If a defense lawyer in a white collar case has a highly technical economic defense, then having an accountant on the jury may help the defendant.

Jury selection is an important part of the case that can have a powerful effect on the outcome of a case. If you have recently been charged with a crime, contact an Elgin, Illinois criminal defense attorney at the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today to learn more about your rights. Call 847-488-0889 today.

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