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What is Jury Selection?

You’ve been to a handful of court dates. Your lawyer has talked to you about the evidence. You’ve rejected any kind of offer from the state. And now it’s time to pick your jury. But what does that mean?

In smaller counties like Alachua and Marion and the surrounding areas, jurors are summoned to come to court every Monday. On that day any judges in the courthouse with a trial or trials that week pick a jury.

So you arrive on Monday morning at 8:30. The judge asks if your case is still going to trial and then tells your attorney you’ll be “picking first.” You sit down to wait. Suddenly 30 strangers enter the courtroom nervously. The bailiff instructs them to sit to one side, and they all stare at you curiously. 18 of them are asked through the clerk’s random selection process to sit in the jury box. Now they’re all looking in your direction. Those are your potential jurors.

Random folks are brought in by summons from around the county, sworn in somewhere in the courthouse and then dispersed to various courtrooms where they answer questions from the judge, the prosecutor, and your lawyer. Both sides have the ability to strike (or get rid of) ten, six or three jurors – depending on the seriousness of your charges. That means you don’t get to pick the jurors you do like. You’re simply removing those you don’t.

Jury selection is a lengthy process. It can take anywhere from a few hours to over a week – again depending on your case. You want to listen to the jurors, pay attention to their body language, and see how they look, act and answer as questions are posed to them.

Jury selection is one of the most important parts of the trial. Without a fair and impartial jury, it may not matter how good your case is. Make sure that you contact Dunham and Ingram for a knowledgeable and experienced attorney with the necessary skills to make sure this is done right.