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The accused in a criminal prosecution in the state of California has a right to have their case heard, and decided, by a jury of their peers. Learn more about criminal jury trial process in California in this presentation.
CRIMINAL JURY TRIA PROCESS IN CALIFORNI The Accused in California The accused in a criminal prosecution in the state of California has a right to have their case heard, and decided, by a jury of their peers The Sixth Amendment “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.” Article 1, Section 16 of the California Constitution TRIAL BY JURY is an inviolate right and shall be secured to all, but in a civil cause three-fourths of the jury may render a verdict A jury may be waived in a criminal cause by the consent of both parties expressed in open court by the defendant and the defendant's counsel Alternatives to a Jury Trial No one can take away Constitutional rights You can waive your rights You might waive a jury trial because you reached an agreement with prosecutor and are entering into a plea agreement You might also waive your right because you elect to have a trial by judge instead Jury Selection (Voir Dire) Prospective Jury Pool Right to a jury of your “peers” Prospective juror names randomly pulled from voter registration records and motor vehicle registrations Summoned to appear for jury duty Juror QUESTIONING Judge explains case to prospective jurors, and explains duties and responsibilities Judge provides name of parties involved in case Jurors are questioned by prosecutor and defense attorney Judge may also question prospective jurors Purpose is to determine if a prospective juror has a bias Also used to decide if parties want the individual to be part of the final jury Challenges for Cause Challenge for cause requires a reason such as the prospective juror knows a party to the case outside of the courtroom Peremptory CHALLENGES Do not require a reason Each side entitled to 10 peremptory challenges in criminal jury trial Each side entitled to 20 if death penalty/life in prison case Used to keep someone off the jury for a reason that does not qualify as a “for cause” reason After all peremptory challenges used by both sides the remaining 12 people (plus alternates) make up the final jury The Trial Opening statements made by both sides Burden on state to prove defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt Witnesses testify and evidence introduced Defense not required to present any evidence but usually does Defendant and attorney decide if defendant testifies Closing statements by both sides Judge instructs jurors what they do next and what the rules on regarding deliberation Deliberation Jurors sent to separate room to deliberate Elect a foreperson Discuss and deliberate case Must reach a unanimous verdict If cannot reach unanimous verdict referred to as a “hung jury” and case must be re-tried Advantages and Disadvantages TO A JURY TRIAL Consult with California criminal defense attorney before making decision regarding jury trial options Certain degree of risk with jury trial because it is impossible to know who will be on jury Jurors could relate well to you or could be unable to relate Your attorney should be able to evaluate the facts of your case and provide insight into a typical jury in the area LEARN MORE ABOUT CRIMINAL JURY TRIAL PROCESS IN CALIFORNIA www.attorneylombardo.com Content provided by Best Legal Practices
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