If you have ever received a jury notice – which you likely have – then you know the first step of juror selection for court cases. The same process is used regardless of the case, so your upcoming lawsuit – if seen by a jury – will have to follow the same process to secure the members who will decide the outcome of the case.
The whole process begins with letters in the mail, summoning people to report to a designated location to be considered as jury members for an upcoming trial. The majority of the time that leads to the formal selection will involve a great deal of waiting for the people being considered for those roles.
The first stage of the selection process is called “voir dire” and involves the initial decision process that will conclude with a particular number of jury members and (in some cases) alternate jurors. The number depends on the type of case involved. Criminal trials typically need more jurors (12) than misdemeanor and civil cases (6). For criminal cases, the judge plays a bigger role in the selection process, being ever present to ensure that all participants are aware of the related laws.
The procedure that leads to the final selection can take a long time because each team of attorneys (for plaintiff and defendant) is allowed to question potential jurors. This helps to point out any potential biases that will affect the person’s ability to remain impartial while listening to the testimony. With justifiable reason, either attorney can ask that a potential juror be removed from consideration. They also have a given number of challenges that can result in a potential juror being removed from the running without a specified reason.
Within twenty-four hours (in most cases), the selected individuals will be called to court to hear the case. Those chosen hold a great deal of responsibility in their hands, which is why communication with jury members before or during the trial is illegal.