Alexandria Robbery Jury Trials
Jury trials are not as common in Virginia for any offenses for a variety of different reasons, but it is still important to know what goes into the process of a jury in case you are faced with a jury trial in a robbery case in Alexandria. One of the reasons for it being uncommon is that juries recommend sentences and that may not be in a client’s best interest when determining whether they move forward with a trial.
Another reason that jury trials not as common is that it is not uncommon for law enforcement to have a strong case. Often, the police have a strong case because they catch the accused with strong evidence. In cases where the evidence is not strong or there are good legal factual defenses, a jury trial may be someone’s best option.
Choosing a Jury
The jury selection process in a robbery jury trial in Alexandria, also known as voir dire, has special significance because attorneys and the court want to ensure that there is an unbiased, impartial jury that can intelligently hear the facts of the case and render a responsible verdict. This is true in any criminal case, including robbery cases.
Jurors are questioned about inherent biases, what may keep them from making impartial judgments, and how they view certain facts. In Virginia, typically, after the jury pool is selected, they are asked initial questions to see if any of them are disqualified from serving on a jury. They are later questioned by both prosecution and the defense attorney, to discover if there is anything that causes them to be struck for cause, which is presented to the court in argument form.
After the number of jurors is whittled down by for-cause removals, there are a number of strikes each attorney has to further limit the jury pool. If that strike is seen is inappropriate or unconstitutional, motions may be raised at that time. The jury pool is subsequently ratified by the judge. There is not necessarily a demographic that is better or worse to serve on a jury for a robbery trial or for any trial for that matter. What matters is looking for impartial jurors that can sit in sound judgment and decide on the facts of the case.
Cases that tend to garner more media attention might take longer to select an impartial and unbiased jury. When a case is not reported heavily and the parties are not widely known to members of the community, the jury process may take less time. It is uncommon for the jury process to take less than an hour, but absent uncommon circumstances, taking more than a couple of days would be unusual.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Beyond a reasonable doubt means to exclude all reasonable hypothesis of innocence. In percentile terms, that means being well above 97% sure. Something far-fetched would not be a reasonable hypothesis of innocence. Strong alibi testimony or conflicting witness statements may, however, create a reasonable hypothesis of innocence to a jury during a jury trial in Alexandria.