What impact does jury selection have for my criminal case?

What impact does jury selection have for my criminal case?

If you speak to your New York criminal defense attorney and determine that you will, in fact, be pursuing a jury trial, then it may be beneficial for you to understand how important jury selection is and how it can influence the ultimate outcome of the case. In order to prepare for jury selection, your attorney will need to determine the kind of person that he or she wants as a juror for your case and should work diligently during the jury selection phase of the case, also known as “voir dire.” Your New York criminal defense attorney will handle most of the legwork at this stage of the case.

The essential process of jury selection is to determine what makes the jurors “tick”. You may want your attorney to ask specific questions about some of the facts associated  with the crime or crimes you are accused of, but your attorney will also be relying on his or her gut instinct to determine whether or not someone is the most appropriate fit.

When selecting a jury, both the defense and prosecution have a right to make various types of challenges to the jury panel. The first type, challenges for cause, are challenges to a juror that has indicated in jury selection that he or she lacks the ability to be fair and impartial to either the prosecution or the defense, due to bias or prejudice. The second type of challenges, called peremptory challenges,  are challenges that both the defense and the prosecution have if they simply don’t feel comfortable with a particular juror. These types of challenges are limited in number, depending on the seriousness of the crime.  

On rare occasions involving extremely complex or serious crimes, you may also have a jury selection expert at the table during this particular phase of your case. Understanding jury selection and the role that you and your attorney will play may make things a lot easier for you, particularly  if you are nervous about this stage of your criminal defense case. Having an attorney who has helped other clients in prior cases involving jury selection and trials can go a long way towards minimizing your nerves.

Julie Rendelman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer. She has worked as a prosecutor in the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney’s Office and understands the importance of jury selection and has the skills needed to handle the selection process. Visit www.RendelmanLaw.com to learn more about Ms. Rendelman’s experience and call 212-951-1232; Ms. Rendelman offers free consultations. Her office is located conveniently in Midtown Manhattan near numerous subway stations.