Monday, July 9, 2007

A Jury Of Your Peers

If the jury will be my peers, does that mean that they will be about my age, same nationality, same economic position in life, and so forth?



Under the Constitution of the United States of America, a person accused of a serious crime (one for which the penalties can deprive him or her of life or freedom), has a right to a trial by an impartial jury (Sixth Amendment). Under the due process clause of the Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment), the Supreme Court has applied the Sixth Amendment guarantee to state criminal cases, and under the Seventh Amendment, the Constitution guarantees that right in Federal suits.

The Supreme Court has held that an "impartial jury" - a jury of your peers - means that the jurors are chosen randomly from the community and that no particular race, sex, national origin or other representative classification of the population is excluded. The random selection process, as with any statistical process, will result in a representative body being selected from the community. Over time, the entire jury pool will include members from each of the community's races, national origins and all other classifications of people, as well as the changes to the community.

The jury for a criminal trial is selected through a process called voir dire (for more information, refer to criminal trial procedures), which provides your criminal defense attorney an opportunity to eliminate some jurors. Even so, whether the jury consists of people of your same age, race, religious beliefs and national origin or not will depend upon the random selection process and whether people from those groups were selected to serve at the time of your trial.

Helpful links:
Criminal Trial Proceedings
Jury Selection
Juror Rules