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How Are Jurors Selected?

If you face a serious criminal charge that warrants a trial, you might want to know about the jury and how members will be chosen.

While your defense attorney is not able to pick the jurors he would like to have, he can eliminate from consideration those he thinks might hurt your case.

Those less receptive

Attorneys representing both the prosecution and defense will interview potential jurors with questions about their backgrounds, experiences, values and opinions. The lawyers are looking to weed out any candidates whose answers indicate that they might not be receptive to the case they intend to present.

Relationships and bias

The relationships a candidate has will be important. Your attorney would see the possibility of a biased point of view from any candidate for jury duty who has ties to someone in law enforcement. As another example, a hospital employee might have a bias toward doctors and may, therefore, be a less than ideal candidate to serve on a jury deciding a case involving medical malpractice.

The opinionated types

Bias can extend to a prospective juror's opinion of the legal system. For instance, a candidate who says she believes that the police manufacture evidence and she does not think much of the justice system in our country would probably not be an impartial juror. A defense attorney will normally look for people who are more open-minded about the law.

Of shoes and hair

Lawyers tend to make judgments about a potential juror based on the kind of clothing he or she wears. Women who are cautious and more uptight will wear more formal footwear, whereas those who are open and receptive will wear casual, comfortable shoes with low heels and round, not pointy, toes. Both men and women who are more open and receptive will sport looser, more casual hairstyles, and men will have beards that are natural in appearance rather than sculpted.

Jury duty requirements

Finally, a criminal defense attorney will tell you that a juror must be at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen and proficient enough in the English language to fill out the juror qualification form. Also, with some exceptions, the candidate must not have a felony conviction.

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
8630 Fenton St., Suite 320
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Office Number: 301-589-2100
Afterhours Number: 301-367-6500

Fax: 301-588-8848
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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013