In the United States, a criminal defendant is guaranteed the right to trial by jury.
A jury decides whether the defendant committed the crime. The trial is held in the state where the crimes were allegedly committed.
The right arises out of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
District courts randomly select citizens’ names from those with driver’s licenses and voter registration lists. Then, those selected complete a questionnaire, and if qualified, they are randomly chosen to be summoned for jury duty. The selection process ensures that jurors are representative of the entire community.
To serve on a jury, jurors are selected by a process known as “voir dire,” which means, “to speak the truth.” Potential jurors are asked a set of questions by the judge and attorneys from both sides. These questions determine whether or not jurors are competent and fit to serve on the jury.
For felony cases, a jury trial requires 12 jurors, and some misdemeanor cases require six jurors. However, all jurors must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The right to a jury trial is a fundamental right for anyone accused of a crime. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in the criminal justice system.
Speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at Koop Law Firm for more information on your right to a jury trial and any charges you may be facing.