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The Role of a Jury In a Criminal Trial

Trenton criminal defense lawyer

The thought of being put on trial is intimidating. It can be even scarier thinking that your fate is in the hands of a panel of 12 men and women from the community. Who are these people, how are they selected, and what exactly is their role? It’s important to have a Trenton criminal defense lawyer explain the role of juries so that you fully understand the criminal process.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury…

Movies and television shows often portray juries as 12 middle aged men and women sitting in an enclosed area, with the attorneys appealing to their emotions and logic. In many instances, this could be an accurate representation of a real life jury. But rarely do movies show the process of selecting a jury and the full picture of what jurors can and cannot do while serving on a criminal jury.

When a citizen receives a jury summons, they must report to the court house on the specified date. The prospective jurors are asked many questions that seek to weed out anyone who cannot be fair and impartial. This process is called voir dire. If your Trenton criminal defense lawyer thinks there are legal grounds to challenge an individual’s ability to be impartial, they may be excused from serving on the jury.

Each side also gets a select number of preemptory challenges that allow them to excuse potential jury members without having to give a reason. Usually, a skilled Trenton criminal defense lawyer will seek to excuse any person who might have preconceived notions or may be more likely to believe the prosecution’s version of the events.

Once 12 jurors and 2 alternates are selected, the trial can begin. Jurors are given very important instructions on how they may and may not behave, such as:

  • Do not talk about the case with other jurors
  • Do not talk about the case with any other persons, such as family or friends
  • Do not allow people to discuss the case in front of you
  • Do not read about the trial or watch news that is reporting on the trial
  • Do not converse with witnesses or the lawyers

During the trial, the jury members listen to the attorneys, the witnesses, and the judge, while observing the defendant very closely. If you are a defendant, your Trenton criminal defense lawyer will review with you how to present yourself in court to make a good impression.

After each side rests their case, the jury will deliberate to apply the facts to the law and determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of each charge.

Consult With A Trenton Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you’re facing criminal charges, it is important to hire the right Trenton criminal defense lawyer. Mark Catanzaro is experienced and determined, and has proven results. Call his office today to schedule your free consultation.


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