Selecting a Jury in a Civil Trial - Explained
How Does Jury Selection Work?
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What is jury selection?
Jury selection is the process of selecting the individuals who will serve as the jury in a civil trial.
The process of jury selection is discussed below.
Next Article: Steps in Trial Process Return to: CIVIL LITIGATION
What is the process for selecting a jury (jury selection) in a civil case?
Individuals called to serve jury duty are referred to as the jury pool.
The jury pool is a cross-section of the population and each member is randomly chosen from government records.
Jurors fill out a questionnaire and submit to a background check as part of this process.
This procedure seeks to expose any biases or prior conduct that might disqualify the potential juror from service.
For example, an individual who has previously been convicted of a felony may not serve on the jury.
Once the final pool is selected, these individuals are eligible for selection to serve on a trial jury for any case in the court's jurisdiction.
The trial jury is selected through a process known as voir dire.
In this process, the plaintiff and defendant (through their counsel) ask questions to evaluate the jurors.
The purpose of the questions is to identify any biases that may prejudice the juror's ability to be fair and impartial in the execution of her duties.
If the questions reveal any biases that disqualify the juror from service, the juror is stricken for cause from the jury pool.
This is a procedural process to narrow the jury pool down to a group of eligible, non-biased individuals.
Then, each party is given the ability to strike a limited number of jurors from the pool for any non-discriminatory reason. These are known as "preemptory challenges".
This allows the party to strike potential jurors that they simply do not want on the jury.
The only limitation is that the peremptory challenge cannot be used to eliminate a potential juror based upon any protected classification (race, religion, gender, etc.).
Do you believe that the jury selection process is fair? Why or why not?
- Some would say that the jury selection process is fair because discrimination is prohibited and there is a limitation on preemptory challenges. Others would argue that the rules against discrimination do not actually prohibit this practice.
Martin is defense counsel in a civil case against his client. During the jury selection process, Martin identifies a number of jurors who appear to have biases that would prejudice his client. He also gets the sense that a couple of the jurors do like him or his client. What are Martin's options with regard to choosing jurors?
- The options that Martin can challenge the various jurors that appear to be biased against his client. If he can show cause, he can strike these jurors without using a preemptory challenge. Next, he has the ability to exercise his preemptory challenges, in that he is able to strike potential jurors that he simply does not want to sit on the jury. Of course, his reason for striking the juror can not be discriminatory based upon a protected characteristic (such as race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, etc.)
- Civil Litigation Procedure (Intro)
- What is a civil lawsuit or civil action?
- Who are the parties to a lawsuit?
- What is standing to sue?
- What is personal jurisdiction?
- What is a class action?
- What are the pleadings?
- What is discovery?
- What is the scope of discovery?
- What are motions and how are they used?
- What is the process of selecting a jury?
- What are the steps involved in a civil trial?
- What is the burden of proof in a civil trial?
- Compensatory Damages
- Punitive Damages
- What is res judicata