3 Things To Know About Jury Selection For Civil Cases

Posted on: 3 April 2018

If you have a civil matter that is heading to court and will face a jury, you need to understand a little about how the jury selection process works so that you can work with your attorney to develop a strategy.

1. Know How Many People Will Sit On Your Jury

The size of a jury can vary. Generally, jury's either have six or twelve members on them. In many areas, the default size of the jury errors on the smaller side. If you want to face a larger jury, make sure that your attorney lets the judge know that you want a larger jury. Your attorney may need to make a case for a larger jury to the judge.

There can be advantages to having a larger jury; there are more individuals to discuss your case and you can put more people with different views on the case. There can be advantages to having a smaller jury as well if you are able to build a jury of like-minded individuals.

2. Be Aware of Alternates

Although alternates are not often called to serve on the jury, they can be. If a jury has to be excused once proceedings are underway for some reason, or if a jury needs to be removed, that is when the alternate has to step up and take a spot on the jury.

You want your attorney to pick alternates that are just as good of a fit for your jury as the individuals selected for the actual jury. Your alternates have value, so be sure to pay attention to them.

3. Various Dismissal Options

When going through the jury pool, your attorney will get to ask the jury members a variety of different questions. These questions can be posed to the entire jury or to individual members of the jury.

During this process, your attorney will be able to dismiss potential jurors for two different reasons. They will be able to dismiss potential jury members for cause, such as the jury knows the defendant. Your attorney will also be able to dismiss potential jury members with peremptory challenges. A peremptory challenge is a free pass, where you and your attorney can dismiss a potential juror just because, without giving a reason. Your attorney only gets so many of these challenges to use, so use them carefully.

When facing a civil trial with a jury, make sure you know how many people will sit on the jury, make sure that you pick your alternates carefully, and make sure that you understand how the dismissal options work.