There is probably no phase in a trial more important than jury selection.
There is a school of belief in criminal law that says every trial is won or lost in the choosing of the jury. There is probably no phase in a trial more important than the selection of the six or 12 citizens who will decide the verdict. The way it works is that the Judge calls the first 12 or 24 citizens from the jury pool, depending on a misdemeanor or felony charge, and they take seats in the jury box. The first six or twelve are the jury. But they get to keep their seats only if they survive the questioning that follows. The Judge asks them a series of basic questions then the lawyers get their chance to follow up with a more narrow focus.
Jurors can be removed from the box in one of two ways. They can be rejected for cause if the show through their answers that they cannot be fair judges of credibility or hear the case with an open mind. There are no limits to the number of challenges for cause. The second method of removal is the peremptory challenge, of which each attorney is given a designated number. A peremptory challenge lets the attorney strike a juror for no reason other than his dislike of the individual.
The rules of jury selection are to remove bias and deception from the jury. But a good defense attorney wants a biased jury. I want them predisposed to vote not guilty. I want somebody who is already on my side or can be convinced that my client is innocent. It is in the judicious and tactful use of these peremptory challenges that strategy and experience come into play. An experienced trial attorney develops these skills.
Call me (970-871-7400) to discuss your questions, needs and how I can help you.
"Over the last fourteen years, I have tried more jury trials than any practicing attorney in the 14th Judicial District (Routt County, Moffat County, and Grand County Colorado including Steamboat Springs, Craig, and Hot Sulphur Springs) with consistent success."
-- Larry D. Combs
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