Jury duty is one of those responsibilities that American citizens must perform. This responsibility is something that you should take seriously. Justice depends on the quality of jurors who sit on a trial. Read on to find out how to deal with the pressure of being in a jury room.
How Voting Can Get You On The List
For jury selection, potential jurors are chosen randomly from a list. The jury pool comes from citizens' names on the registered voters list. Potential jurors are sent a notice to appear in court.
When a case is called for trial, a group of potential jurors are seated in the courtroom. Judges and lawyers use a process known as voir dire to determine if someone is suitable for the case. Voir dire comes from the French and is derived from Latin, and it means "to speak the truth." It is a process that allows judges and attorneys to ask potential jurors questions to determine their competency for ruling on the trial.
Jury selection is very important. If one makes an error when selecting the jury, then it can be grounds for an appeal in a criminal case.
The Need To Get A Unanimous Verdict
Judges want the jury to deliberate until a verdict is reached. However, the deliberation process in criminal cases can be filled with mystery and drama. It is mysterious because what goes on behind closed doors in the jury room remains a secret.
To reach a unanimous verdict, the foreman will hold a preliminary vote to see where everybody stands. If the vote is not unanimous, then you will discuss the testimony in detail. You will vote again after the discussion. If the vote is still not a unanimous guilty verdict, then the pressure is on.
At this point, if you are the person who voted not guilty, you're going to have the other jurors looking at you. They will believe their decision is right and yours is wrong. Many jury members are ready to go home. At this point, there is serious pressure to reach a verdict.
It is important to remain calm when trying to reach a verdict. You want to keep the discussions civil and focus on the facts of the case. It can take a while, but sticking to the facts will help with reaching a verdict.
You should expect some impatience from your fellow jury members. However, there should not be any intimidation from someone trying to make you vote a certain way. If intimidation occurs, then you should notify the judge of this behavior.