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The truth on why we have random people for the jury

People usually want to know how to get themselves excused from jury duty, which is unfortunate. In many ways, a criminal jury trial represents the pinnacle of our justice system. Only a small percentage of people who receive a summons are actually selected to sit as a juror.

Learn about the process of selecting a jury.

Generally, those with clear reasons for ineligibility are excluded first e. Next, each prospective juror is called randomly to approach the judge. They are permitted to address the judge directly if they believe there is a personal circumstance that might preclude them from serving.

The most common are travel, work, and family constraints.

Reasonable Doubt: the truth about jury duty

It's entirely up to the judge whether your personal circumstance will exclude you from selection, so bring any relevant documentation about your conflict if you have one. Once the preliminary selections are done, the lawyers may ask you questions that pertain to the case. Another frequent question is if the jurors have been exposed to any media coverage of the case.

There can be as many as 20 in a murder case and as few as four where the risk of jail is five years or less. A jury selection can take anywhere from half a day to more than a week, depending on the nature of the case and the challenges.

Sitting as a juror If you're selected as a juror, you have an elevated status. The result of the case lies in your hands.

Most jury trials take one to three weeks, although more complex cases can last for several months. For most people, this is a significant disruption to their lives. Fortunately, the court day is relatively civilized: During the course of the trial, legal issues will arise that require argument in absence of the jury, so it is common the truth on why we have random people for the jury there to be half or full days off throughout the trial.

Jurors are supposed to approach the evidence with an open mind. Most cases will begin with general instructions from the judge on how to approach the task, followed by an overview from the Crown about how the case is expected to unfold. The rest of the trial will consist of evidence — of witnesses answering questions about their involvement in the case.

Deliberations Once deliberations begin, the the truth on why we have random people for the jury around a jury change to allow for complete privacy in order to avoid any tampering or influence of the verdict. All meals are provided for and you are housed at a hotel near the courthouse when deliberations conclude in the evening. In a criminal trial, the decision of the jury must be unanimous.

Understandably, this can take some time to happen. Most juries will return with a verdict within a few days, although in very rare cases, juries deliberate for weeks.

It is up to the Crown the truth on why we have random people for the jury decide whether they will prosecute a case a second time. This decision will depend on the type of case and how the trial went the first time.

Jury Selection in Criminal Cases

Generally speaking, the Crown will offer a more lenient position on sentence if someone decides to plead guilty after a hung jury. The privacy afforded to the jury during their deliberations is indefinite.

Unlike in the United States, Canadian jurors are prohibited from disclosing the details of their deliberations. As a the truth on why we have random people for the jury, most of what we know about what happens in a deliberation room comes from American research. The role of a jury's verdict Juries are regularly instructed not to think about what sentence someone is likely to receive when considering their verdict. Nevertheless, most people are aware that a conviction for murder will result in a life sentence.

A conviction in most jury trials will result in a term of imprisonment. The rationale of the jury system is that the public has a right to be tried by a jury composed of their peers.

Our jury system has its roots in England. There, it was recognized that judges usually came from a different class of society than the accused before the court. In order to ensure fairness in the trial process, the jury was comprised of members of the community who were more similar to the accused than the judge.

Today, jury members come from all walks of life. One of the things that I find most interesting in a jury trial is to see how 12 strangers become a group unified by their task as it progresses. For better or worse, jurors are forced to get to know one another in order to form a consensus. Inevitably, their decision will impact the person who is on trial for the rest of the life. Reasonable Doubt appears on Mondays.

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A word of caution: You should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from a lawyer. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Lockyer Campbell Posner or the lawyers of Lockyer Campbell Posner.