Virginia Robbery Jury Trials
In criminal cases, the defendant can choose whether they want a bench trial or a trial by jury. In a bench trial, the judge decides the final verdict in a robbery trial. In jury trials, a jury of five to seven individuals is selected and given the authority to decide the final verdict. There are advantages and disadvantages to Virginia robbery jury trials, which is why if you are considering a jury trial, you should consult an experienced robbery attorney. A qualified lawyer could pursue a positive outcome for you.
Jury Selection Process
Before Virginia robbery jury trials, there is an extensive jury trial selection process. With the jury pool, the judge looks for a fair and impartial jury, but they do not select them. In Virginia, the jury process is called the voir dire process. It is a separate pretrial hearing or process that goes on when the defense attorney and the prosecutor get to ask questions to the jury. The judge may also ask the potential jury pool questions, but it is usually the defense attorney and the prosecutors that are asking questions. They ask questions to try to weed out people who would not be suitable for their side.
What the Prosecution is Looking For
The prosecution wants to weed out anybody who is favorable to the defense, has been through a situation like this before, has a family member who was convicted of this type of crime, has a family member who was falsely arrested, or has reason to make them more likely to be sympathetic to a defendant.
They also do not want people like attorneys who are going to look at the legal issues in the case more closely. They want people like police officers or people who have been potentially victims of these types of crimes in the past. They ask questions to weed out jurors who have some type of bias or who are not able to listen to the judge’s instructions about being fair and impartial about the facts. A lot of times, people get through that should not. People may say that they are fair and impartial when they are not. The judge would strike those jurors for cause. Each side gets as many strikes for cause as they need, but it has to be for cause.
What the Defense Wants in a Juror
When selecting jurors for Virginia robbery jury trials, the defense wants people who are more favorable, sympathetic, or rational than the prosecution wants. For example, if someone says that they are more likely to believe police officers than anybody else, the defense would be less inclined to want that juror. They want people who may be more emotional about the issue or harsher on crime. It depends on the facts of the case, but there are different strategies going into a voir dire and selecting juries for each side.The voir dire process takes about half to a full day, depending on the facts of the case.
Is Diversity the Goal of Jury Selection?
Diversity is not the goal of jury selection nor is curating a group that reflects the local demographic. It is not important to either side whether or not it represents the local demographic. They care about curating a jury that could help their side. For example, in Arlington juries are predominantly white. If a defendant is of color, an all-white jury or even a remotely close to all-white jury is not wanted. They want people who may understand what it is like to be arrested by a police officer for doing nothing and their reactions to that. It is a situation where a jury is not going to be reflective of the area but reflects the values needed for the case. Sometimes that is impossible and lawyers are stuck with a jury that is potentially a bad jury, but they have to try.
How Diversity Can Impact a Jury Trial
Because the jury may be made of people from all walks of life, it could potentially impact the results of a Virginia robbery jury trials since they are unpredictable and it is not known what they are going to focus on. There are individuals who sit on a jury, listen to evidence about everything, and do not believe the complaining witness or the alleged victim because they had shifty eyes when they were talking. They may say that they do not believe the complainant, and that is the jury’s decision to make.
Juries may focus on strange facts. Having people from all walks of life means that they take whatever their life experiences are, into that courtroom and onto that jury. They provide a diverse perspective on what happened and what must be proved. It must be laid out for them clearly. A lot of times, juries have problems with understanding what the law is and how to apply the law and, and they may be misled.