Jury Selection

Definition - What does Jury Selection mean?

Jury selection is the process used in the American legal system to choose a specified number people to hear evidence and render verdicts in civil and criminal cases.

It begins with a large group of people – called a jury pool – that meets the basic criteria for jury service, and continues through a series of steps as prescribed by law until the panel is chosen.

Justipedia explains Jury Selection

While the number of people chosen for jury service varies in any given case, the process of jury selection is generally the same:

  • Six to 12 jurors are usually chosen, depending on the type of case and state in which it is heard. Panels of six are generally selected in civil cases and misdemeanor criminal cases, while 12 jurors are chosen for criminal cases involving felonies.
  • An additional juror, called an alternate, is also selected to hear evidence at trial, but does not engage in deliberations with the rest of the panel unless another member has been excused due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • The selection process sometimes, but not always, begins when a group of prospective jurors is called into the courtroom. There, the judge will talk to the group about the type of case and ask if there is any reason why a juror cannot serve.
  • Afterward, the judge or attorney for each side will ask the prospective jurors a series of questions designed to assess their objectivity. Each attorney is then allowed to eliminate a specified number of people from the panel.
  • The process ends when the required number of people is chosen and promises to hear the case without prejudice.
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