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Jury Selection - A Misnomer

Posted By Criminal Law Standard || 11-Nov-2010

    Lawyers and others commonly refer to the jury selection process (called "Voir Dire") as, "picking a jury." In fact, attorneys do not pick jurors to sit on the jury; they eliminate jurors they do not want to sit on the jury.  Here is how jury selection works in Texas:

    If a 50 person panel (called "The Venire") is brought to a courtroom to sit through jury selection, they sit in numeric order from 1 to 50.  At the outset of jury selection, the first twelve jurors (those assigned numbers 1 through 12) will become jury members unless the judge strikes one or more of them for cause, or one of the attorneys uses a preemptory challenge to strike one or more of the first 12 jury panel members. 

    In selecting a 12 person jury, each side gets six (6) preemptory challenges; however, a party is not required to use all six (6) challenges.    A preemptory challenge allows a party to strike a member of the jury panel for any lawful purpose.  This enables attorneys to exclude from the jury (subject to certain constitutional limitations) people who they do not believe will be receptive to their case and/or those who may be predisposed to favor one side over the other. 

    Each side can challenge an unlimited number of jurors for cause.  When a party moves to strike a jury panel member for cause, the Judge decides whether to strike the panel member at issue.  Anyone who does not meet Texas juror eligibility requirements can be struck for cause.  Similarly, jurors who cannot be fair in deciding the case and/or are hesitant to follow the law applicable to the case can be struck for cause.

    Once the judge has ruled on all motions to strike jurors for cause, and each side has exercised their preemptory challenges, the first 12 remaining jury panel members become the jurors empaneled to decide the case. As such, it is more accurate to say that attorneys exclude from the jury those jury panel members they do not want to sit on the jury, as opposed to saying that attorneys pick the members of the jury. 

    Dallas Criminal attorney Tom D'Amore has tried over 400 jury trials during his 23 year career including more than 15 capital murder cases.  This experience enables Tom to effectively select jurors for his client's cases.  Jury selection is perhaps the most important part of a trial.  In fact, some lawyers believe that a case has been decided once the jurors have been sworn in.  It is extremely important to hire a criminal attorney who has extensive jury trial experience.  If you have been charged with a crime contact the D'Amore Law Firm to arrange a free case evaluation with Dallas criminal attorney Tom D'Amore. 
Categories: Jury Trials, Trial

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