The Importance of a Skillful Jury Selection in a Criminal Case
One of the ways in which we help you as experienced criminal defense attorneys and former felony Assistant District Attorneys who practice is to evaluate the facts of your case and game-plan how a jury trial will proceed. An essential part of that process is to analyze how a jury will view the evidence after being exposed to our aggressive defense tactics. Understanding the jury’s view of the evidence begins with strategizing about the selection of the jury in your case.
Picking & Seating a Jury
Picking and seating a great jury is one of the most important keys to winning your criminal case. It is the first stage in the jury trial process. As experienced criminal defense attorneys and former felony Assistant District Attorneys, we treat this part of the trial process with utmost importance and consideration.
Jury selection is really a process a de-selection, where members of the community who show up for jury service are asked a series of questions about the law, and their experiences and biases. It is critical to elicit truthful answers from the jury panel because it will reveal to us who is the most fit and unfit to be on the jury. Most of the people on the jury panel are then disqualified. This leaves only six people in a misdemeanor case and twelve people in a felony case to apply the facts to the law, and to render a verdict.
Goals of Jury Selection
As experienced criminal defense attorneys and former felony Assistant District Attorneys, we have identified several main goals of jury selection.
- The first goal is to impart our case theory with the panel members. We share with the jury panel the reasons why reasonable doubt exists in your case and why you deserve to be acquitted.
- The second goal is to develop a rapport with the panel. This trust is important because we want to be the trusted guides for the jury while they are tasked with reviewing the evidence and deciding the case.
- The third goal of jury selection is to identify members of the jury panel who should not sit on the jury, whether that is due to their opinions about the law or their biases towards people charged with crimes. We also discuss the members of the jury panel we think would be great jurors for the facts in your case, and brainstorm who we think would make excellent jurors to judge the facts in your case.
Questions for the Jury Panel
The approach we take in jury selection is an essential element in fighting your criminal case. As we prepare for trial, we discuss with you the topics and areas we want to cover in jury selection and the questions we will ask.
The questions for the jury panel will include:
- Past experience as jurors
- Connections to law enforcement
- Your rights and the protections you are guaranteed under the Constitution
- The law of the specific offense you are charged with, such as DWI, Assault, Theft, and drug offenses
- “Beyond a reasonable doubt” which is the high level of proof required in a Texas criminal case
- Opinions about the law and its enforcement
- The weaknesses we have identified in the State’s case
Presentation & Discussion
During jury selection we often use a PowerPoint presentation to further relay our points and questions to the jury panel. After we have finished our presentation to the jury, we sit with you and discuss the panel members that should not sit on the jury. We then strike or eliminate people from the jury panel, and are left with the actual jury who decides the case.
As former felony Assistant District Attorneys, and experienced criminal defense attorneys, we thoroughly prepare for jury selection as it is the “setting of the table” for the case and sets the tone for how the evidence is viewed by the jury. In doing so, we create the circumstances for having the best chance at winning your criminal case.