"But if you are going to convict my client based on this evidence and send him to jail for a very long time, you better make sure you are damn sure."
Jury selection is called voir dire. Jury trials are protected under the United States Constitution.
Jurors in the Mark Jensen trial returned a verdict - guilty.
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JURY selection - VOIR DIRE
Voir Dire is the jury selection process. Jury selection begins with summoning jurors. A summons is sent to prospective jurors for selection and qualificiation of the jury. Both the prosecuting and defense attorneys can challenge selection of a juror for cause.
The court also has a duty to jurors. That duty is to "charge them", which means, in short, to provide them with information about the law and instructions on how to apply that law to the case at hand. The court also discharges jurors at the end of the trial.
Generally speaking, the procedures for selecting a jury are the same for criminal trials as they are for civil trials, except that in a criminal jury selection, the attorneys may remove more prospective jurors for strategic reasons.
A challenge removes the juror from the jury. Challenges - or strikes - are usually allowed so long as that side has challenges remaining, unless the court finds that the party challenging that juror is doing so for illegal reasons such as race or other prohibited forms of discrimination.
jury Selection in Felony Trials
In Wisconsin felony trials, both the prosecution and the defense may each challenge 4 potential jurors, unless the crime charged is punishable by life imprisonment, in which case, each side may challenge 6 potential jurors. If there are 2 defendants, the court may allow more challenges: up to 12 challenges if the charge may result in life imprisonment and there are 2 defendants, or up 18 challenges if there are more than 2 defendants. In other felony cases, which do not include life imprisonment, 2 defendants may have 6 challenges and more than 2 defendants may have up to 9 challenges.
Jury selection In Misdemeanor Trials
In Wisconsin misdemeanor cases, both the prosecution and the defense are allowed up to 3 challenges, unless there are 2 defendants, then the defense is allowed up to 4, or if there are more than 2 defendants, the defense is allowed up to 6 challenges. If additional jurors are to be selected, each side is allowed one additional challenge.
Once the jury is selected, the court will determine if the jurors may take notes and if so, provide the materials and instructions on note-taking, including that the notes will be collected at the end of the trial and destroyed. The court will inform the prosecution and defense of the instructions it intends to provide to the jury so that each party has the opportunity to object to the information and to suggest additional instructions as they see proper. The court will then provide the jury with this information and instruction, which may include the elements of a criminal charge, what constitutes evidence, the burden of proof, creditability of a witness, and a directive to refrain from discussing the case until deliberations commence.
Felony Jury Panels
All Wisconsin felony juries are comprised of twelve persons, unless the accused defendant waives (or gives up his right to) a jury trial, or unless the defense and the prosecution agree to allow a verdict by less than 12 jurors.
Misdemeanor Jury Panels
A jury for a misdemeanor trial consists of six persons.
The court may direct the jurors be kept together during the trial and or the deliberations in a case. This is done to avoid the influence of outside sources of information and opinion, other than the evidence and arguments of the parties in the trial. This is called the sequestration of a jury, and is used less and less these days. It is usually used in serious, high-profile cases where there is expected be a lot of media coverage, thereby raising the risk of improper outside influences.
The court may also appoint an officer of the court to keep the jurors together and prevent communications between the jurors and others during the trial and deliberations.
Jury Trial Litigation Attorneys
The attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood are experienced trial litigation attorneys who have selected numerous jury panels over the thirty combined years of their practice. If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges that may go to trial, you want the strongest criminal defense lawyer on your side, one that can go up against the toughest prosecuting attorneys in the state of Wisconsin and win. That kind of legal knowledge, experience and skill is precisely what the criminal defense attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood are known for. Their winning trial record and excellent reputation with judges throughout the Wisconsin legal community has often inspired prosecutors to make very favorable settlements (plea bargains) even at the last moment before jury selection.
For a free initial consultation with Attorney Chris Van Wagner or Attorney Tracey Wood, please call () for a confidential initial consultation.