Maryland criminal law is challenging to navigate and our clients have many questions about the legal process after being arrested for a crime. One of the most commonly asked is what attorneys use to select jury members and if clients can “weigh in” on who they think ought to serve. Keep reading to find out the answer and how an experienced defense lawyer can assist you.
Jurors Aren’t Really “Selected”
The term “jury selection” is a misnomer, because attorneys are not permitted to choose who serves on the jury. They only get to choose who is not on the jury, and they only get a limited number of people they may dismiss from the jury pool.
Defense attorneys try to eliminate jurors who are more likely to convict the defendant, while prosecutors look to eliminate people who are likely to exonerate the defendant. Which jurors to eliminate must be chosen carefully by your lawyer to leave as many people in the jury pool who might side with you as possible.
How a Jury Pool Is Assessed
Lawyers for both sides must painstakingly interview each potential juror in a process called “voice dire” where questions are asked about almost every aspect of the juror’s life. Each side wants jurors that align with their client’s values, life experience, appearance, etc. These criteria and more are assessed during jury selection:
- Profession. What type of job jury members hold can influence how they perceive a defendant and how they reach a verdict.
- Race. The race of jury members plays a significant role in how they rule depending on what race the defendant identifies as or looks like.
- Family life. The familial status of a juror also matters. Say a defendant is on trial for child neglect – a defense attorney would not likely want to choose a juror who is the mother of a small child similar in age to the alleged victim.
- Religion. Spiritual beliefs will also impact how juror rules and should be taken into account along with the above to determine which potential jurors should be eliminated from the pool.
How a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Your future is on the line if you were arrested for a criminal offense. Call Maryland criminal defense and DWI lawyer Richard Brueckner today for a consultation to learn about your rights at 410-430-1464