The Importance of Jury Trial Essay
Constitutional Trial Rights Enacted During a Jury Trial
The American constitution under the that the accused should enjoy the rights of a speedy and public trial, by an unbiased jury of the state and the district where the crime occurred.
The accused has also the right to be informed about the nature and cause of the accusation, can be confronted by a witness if any for questioning and to have an option of obtaining a witness of his own desire (Mathewson, 2009).
Selection of a Fair and Unbiased Jury
For a jury selection to be fair and unbiased the use of persons race, sex, religion, affiliation or nationality should never come to play. It is no doubt that the jurys responsibility in court is such enormous and thus having an impartial jury becomes very important in ensuring fair trial for both parties. He has the right to have a jury pool composed of a fair cross section of people of all walks of life. Then from the pool the jury can be chosen (Norton, Sommers & Brauner, 2007).
Steps in a Jury Trial
Selecting a Jury Pool
These are names of individuals who are forwarded to a court of law among them are to be chosen the jurors. The judge then chooses a juror administrator who is charged with the responsibility of choosing the qualified juror from the juror pool. A random draw is done in order to select the number of the jurors required and a juror cannot be selected from outside the pool. Before the end of seven days the juror administrator mails those who have been selected as members of the jury. The mailing can be single tier or a two tier.
Disqualification, Exemption, Deferral, and Documentation
From the chosen jurors the courts scrutinizes their qualifications and if not qualified the juror is disqualified or serves under reasonable consideration. Among the qualifications are that the juror should be an American citizen and understands and can write in English.
Exemptions are usually done by application for example a juror had served in another session within the last 24 months then he can apply for exemption or for deferrals until future moments. If the jurors are qualified their names are then put into books. It is important to note that a term of a juror is from the beginning up to the conclusion of the case in question and any information not disclosed by the juror in an open court system remains personal and confidential. Individuals constitutional as well as statutory rights are observed by the court. After qualifying the jurors are then orientated about what their duties will be and what is expected of them; it is after orientation that the jurors swear to answer any question asked during the jury selection honestly (Anon,Indiana rules of court, 2010).
Introduction to the Case
Unless covered during the orientation, when the jurors are selected the judge welcomes them and then introduces the case to them. Among the issues the judge may cover are the nature of the case and the standards of conduct expected from them. The number of jurors always depends with the case. In case of a criminal case the jury should have 12 members and in case of a civil case the number of members should be 6. Less than the specified in both cases can only happen after consultations with the involved parties.
Oath and Cause Affirmation Challenge
It is a requirement that parties making cause before the jury be sworn. Some of the cases where the court can sustain a challenge for a cause are for example if a juror is conversant with one of the witnesses among other factors. After the jury is selected and before the trial begins, the judge administers an oath to the jurors that they will well and truly solve the case between the involved parties there after giving a verdict based on the law and facts. Before the trial begins the judge reads the issues of the trial and credibility of witnesses
Opening Statement and Presentation of Evidence
Before the case is started in case of a criminal case the prosecutors gives a brief description of the evidence and for a civil case the party which carries the burden states the evidence related to the case. The defendant must, in court, state the evidence and then present evidence for the same.
and Final Instructions
To help jurors in performing their duties, the court sometimes allows the juror to which mostly contains copies of exhibit and list of witnesses among others. The court announces the final instructions and provides the jurors with written instructions. Members of the jury are supposed to keep these instructions during the process of discussing the case. To avoid any external influence during deliberation of a case, the bailiff has the power to or any other electronics that may be used for communication.
The evidence given in the court determines whether the jurors agree unanimously or there is a need for consultations among them in order to give the verdict. If disagreements arise the accuser (the burdened party) opens and closes the case to the jury. While opening the case, it becomes necessary for the (burdened) party to disclose all the necessary points that the court can rely on. If the accusers decline to open the case the accused side may argue their case then depending on the evidence given..
Assisting Jurors at an Impasse and the Judge Reads the Verdict
If the jurors are unable to reach a judgment, the court may assist but only in the presence of the counsel and the parties involved. After deep deliberations an agreement is reached. Upon reaching the agreement (by the jury), the suitable (verdict) form gets the forepersons nod (Hornberger, 2005). The judge shall read the verdict and the court or the party votes the jury. How ever if one of the jury members does not agree to the verdict, the jury is reconvened and more consultations are made.
We can conclude that the constitution allows for a fair and equitable treatment for the suspect and though the jury trial may have shortcomings or flaws if combined properly it is one of the better systems of judgment than the single autonomous power given to a single judge who may even be biased. Thus trial by jury is one of the safeguards against tyranny and biased ness (Hornberger, 2005).