In any case that has to go to trial with a jury, it’s important to make sure that the jury itself isn’t biased in a way that could hurt the defendant. Juries are meant to be neutral.
Initially, jury selections are neutral. In your state and county, your local court will have a list of citizens who can work on a jury. Their information could be collected from:
- Voter registrations
- Phone books
- The Department of Motor Vehicles
After the names are all selected, the jury will be randomly chosen from them.
Who is immediately exempted from being on a jury?
Right away, a few people won’t be able to be on the jury. This includes:
- Some who may ask to be excused or disqualified for their own responsibilities or biases
- Those under the age of 18
- Immigrants who are not U.S. citizens
- Those convicted of disqualifying felonies
- Those who are not residents of the county where the case is being held
- Those with physical or mental disabilities that disqualify them for service
In federal courts, a few groups are also exempted from serving on a jury:
- Members of the armed forces who are currently on active duty
- Those belonging to police and fire departments
- Public officers of the local, state or federal government with full-time positions
How does the makeup of a jury impact your case?
The makeup of a jury may impact your case in any number of ways. For example, if you’re a man accused of killing a woman you were dating, you would likely not want to be tried with an all-female jury. You might not see good results with your case if all of the jury members had been victims of domestic violence or if they all came from one family, for example. Your attorney’s job is to make sure that the jury is as unbiased as possible and to be sure that it is as neutral as possible. They’ll be a part of the jury-selection process, making sure that the prosecution doesn’t dominate jury selection. This is done so they can help to protect your rights in court.