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How are jury members selected?

If you are ever chosen for jury duty or charged with a criminal act, you may wonder how your name came to be included for consideration, or how the people who will ultimately decide your fate were determined. The size of the jury tasked with issuing a verdict in your case will depend on what jurisdiction you reside in, the type of charge you face and so on. For example, most juries are made up of either six or 12 people. Civil cases may be more likely to have six-person juries, whereas serious criminal trials usually involve a jury of 12.

The selection process

Those being considered for jury duty will be issued a summons to appear in court. In most cases, potential jurors will then convene, and the judge presiding over the case will ask questions in an effort to determine whether a potential juror is unbiased, whether he or she has any existing connection to the case or the defendant and more. In the event that the defense attorney or prosecutor believes a potential juror is, in fact, biased or otherwise unable to be a part of an impartial jury, the attorney can request that the juror be dismissed from your case. Ultimately, it is the decision of the judge as to whether the person in question will remain on the jury, but attorneys on both sides are able to ask for as many juror dismissals as they desire.

The peremptory challenge

Attorneys on both sides are also able to challenge a particular jury member without stating a formal reason (although lawyers cannot ask that a juror be dismissed because of gender or race). This is known as a peremptory challenge, and attorneys are typically limited in the amount of peremptory challenges they may issue.

Alternate jurors

In most cases, alternate jury members are also selected so that they may step in in the event that a jury member becomes sick or is otherwise unable to serve for the duration of the case. Alternate members are not allowed to play a role in deliberations or issuing a verdict (unless they are called up to become official jury members), but they are still present for the duration of the case, and they still hear all the same details as the official jury members.

If you are facing charges and you want to know more about the jury member selection process for your specific case, consider getting in touch with an attorney.

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