A trial by jury or jury trial is a legal proceeding where a jury either makes a finding of a fact or a decision, which then direct the actions of the judge. It is different from a bench trial where a panel of judges makes all decisions. It consists of five steps: the selection of the jury, the trial, the charge of the justice, discussion and then the ruling.
The choice of the jury is the first and crucial step. The jurors selected must be fair and not biased. In selecting a fair jury, first is to have a venire or a fair jury pool.It is a potential juror assembled for jury duty. They chose a jury for a criminal trial from the venire. A voir dire process takes place to select the jurors. It is a questioning process for the citizens before the selection to hear evidence as jurors. The jurors are then challenged for the cause and peremptory. A challenge is a request by an attorney to disqualify potential-biased jurors. A challenge for cause is an application to dismiss a potential juror based on a concrete and stated reason, which usually revolves around the actual or possible bias of the person. A peremptory challenge is a request to dismiss a potential juror without stating any reason. It is based on the attorney’s experience and gut feeling. Alternate jurors may be selected once a jury selection is done. They are used to replace regular jurors in cases where they are unable to perform their jury duty.
At the trial, the judge may deliver remarks concerning the case to the jury. The attorneys give their opening statements. The openings statements are the outlines of the imminent proof to be presented to the jury on trial. They are not evidence, but a prototype of what their testimony would lean on. The accused has a right to impartial judge. Offenders are entitled to a speedy trial though there is not the exact time limit. If the judge feels the trial has been delayed, he or she can throw it out. The span and motive for the deferral are examined, and a resolution is given.
At this stage, witnesses are summoned for direct and cross-examination. District attorney presents his/her case first. One side calls their witness for direct examination then the other hand cross-examines them. After the hearing and presentation of facts, the attorneys make their closing statements.
The Judge’s Charge
After the presentation of evidence and closing remarks, the judge then makes a charge. The judge instructs the jury as to what laws apply to the given case and the meaning of those laws. These instructions are read to the jury. It defines the issues the jurors must decide and informs the law governing the case.
The jury heads to the consideration room to deliberate the case and reach a decision. The jury first selects a foreperson. The respresentative ensures that dialogues are steered in a practical and organized fashion, that all subjects are discussed fully and equitably, and that every assessor is given a reasonable chance to contribute. If the jurors have an inquiry during their discussion, they may write it down and have the bailiff deliver it to the judge.
The jury returns to the courtroom and foreperson
presents the verdict to the judge and the court. The attorney may ask for the
polling of the jury.
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