jury selection

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Jury selection is the process of summoning, questioning and selecting jurors to serve on a jury for a particular trial. Generally, courts will first mail jury summons to people randomly selected from compiled lists of registered voters and people with drives licenses. Those who are selected must meet the qualifications (for example, having resided in the jurisdiction and having not been convicted of a felony) for a jury duty and follow the instructions provided on the summons to proceed.

This pool of potential jurors will then be divided into smaller panels and assigned to different courtrooms to sit in a jury box. The judge will first briefly introduce to the prospective jurors the type of case to be tried. Then the prospective jurors will be questioned and challenged by judges and lawyers on both sides to determine if they decide the case impartially. This process of questioning is called voir dire, meaning to speak the truth. Questions concerning the suitability of jurors usually are whether they have any information about the case, whether they are related to a party in the trial and whether their prior experiences might make them prejudiced. A prospective juror will be excluded if a lawyer can show to the judge that she or he might act unfairly in the trial. Each side can also request to remove a limited number of jurors without giving any causes.

Once jurors to be seated in a trial are decided, the jurors will be sworn in to try the case. Those who are not selected will be sent home. The standard jury size for civil cases are usually six while 12 for criminal cases

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]