Top 5 Things To Know About The Jury Selection Process
The jury selection process is a fascinating- and high-stakes- adventure into the subtle terrain of human nature. When you meet with and question all the jury members, you’ll be looking primarily for reasons to vote out people who are biased toward your case. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn the five factors you should know about the assembly of the most effective jury for your case.
1. Relevant life experiences
When selecting (or deselecting) a potential juror, one important factor to consider is the person’s past life experience related to the current case. For example, if a juror has been a victim of theft before, he is likely to have a moving memory of it. If he were sitting in a case in which a person was accused of theft, it would be difficult for him to be impartial.
However, the relevance of a particular life experience can be very subtle, and the process of seeing and saying must attempt to uncover unconscious biases that can affect a juror’s ability to be impartial. For example, in a case involving the neglect of an elderly person, a juror who a grandmother raised may harbor certain biases without being aware of them.
A see-and-tell type conversation should cover topics such as personal relationships, childhood experiences, and future plans, as well as obvious areas that relate specifically to the issues in the case. The juror’s life experience and the common sense it can provide is a positive attribute- but only if it is free of specific events that trigger an emotional reaction to your case in one way or another.
2. Social pressure
The legal system depends on each jury member’s ability to express his or her opinion confidently. Although jurors deliberate and debate together, it is critical to select jurors who have the courage to stand by their individual convictions. Therefore, your jury selection process should be designed to detect and weed out any juror who seems unduly concerned about being judged and criticized by others.
A competent investigator will assess the personality qualities of potential jurors and look for those who are open-minded and life-affirming while avoiding those who are on either end of the personality spectrum: An impartial juror must not fear being judged by others or be overly dominant or socially authoritarian.
3. Online activity
Nowadays, the process of jury selection has changed due to the prevalence of online conversations. Selecting the best jurors for your case no longer depends solely on individuals’ responses to a questionnaire and their answers in see-and-tell interviews. Your due diligence in assembling a jury now includes reviewing each potential juror’s social media postings to determine the person’s perspective on the case.
This background check involves more thorough research than simply looking for comments about the case being tried. You will also need to review social media profiles to get an idea of the person’s general worldview, lifestyle, and political views. For example, a potential juror with strong online statements on gun control may not be able to be impartial when sitting on a jury for a crime involving firearms.
4. Legal Views
For better or worse, the legal system and its sometimes dramatic moments are a favorite topic for mainstream entertainment. Therefore, some members of your jury may already think they know how the case should proceed legally. These individuals may actually think that they are the ideal jurors because they are familiar with the framework of the court and “know what to look for.”
In fact, it is very important to carefully consider the suitability of these well-informed (or pseudo-informed) individuals, as they can often prove to be stubborn during actual deliberations. There is also the risk that they may try to use their legal knowledge to influence their fellow jurors.
5. The ability to be impartial
It is not uncommon for jurors to believe wholeheartedly that they can be impartial but take the view that prevents them from judging a case impartially. Personal bias is caused by many factors. For example, a juror may know too much about a case.
Even if he or she says, he or she has not yet formed an opinion. You want your jurors to learn about the case as the trial progresses and not feel like they already know what happened. Having to fight bias in press reports is not optimal when presenting the facts in court.
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