How Juries Are Picked In Business Law Cases
If you have a business law case that goes to a trial, your trial may involve a jury, which will decide whether you are right or wrong, and how much money you will have to pay or not pay. However, to many people, picking a jury is a mystery. It may help you in your business law case to understand just how a jury is selected.
Do You Even Get a Jury?
You do not always get a jury in a business law case—and in some cases, you may not want a jury. Whether you want a jury largely depends on who you are and what kind of case that you have, and is something that you and your business law attorney can discuss with you as far as the pros and cons of having a jury.
If you do end up with a jury—and in some cases, you aren’t allowed to have a jury, whether you want it or not—you will go through a process called voir dire, or jury selection. This is where your attorneys will try to weed out jurors that may have a pre-existing opinion or bias, in an effort to end up with a jury that is neutral.
Selection or Elimination For Cause
In one phase of jury selection, your attorneys will ask questions of jurors, to weed out any jurors that may have something in their background that could slant them one way or another. For example, if you have a case about a dispute about a construction project, and one of the jurors is married to a construction contractor, that juror may not be completely impartial. One side or the other would probably strike that juror for cause.
The attorneys on both sides take turns eliminating jurors based on their responses to questions and indications of bias.
But jurors can also be dismissed by the lawyers, for no reason at all–maybe an attorney just has a hunch, or doesn’t like the way a jury is acting. The lawyers can get rid of jurors without having to explain why in what are known as peremptory challenges.
The only exception to this rule is that an attorney cannot get rid of a juror based on a protected class. In other words, an attorney cannot decide that they want all black people or all white people or all women or men on the jury—if the other side suspects that jurors are being eliminated based on protected classes, the other side can challenge, and the striking side will have to state why the juror is being eliminated.
At the end of this process there will, presumably, be a neutral panel of jurors, with no pre-existing biases sitting on your jury, to decide on the issues in your case.
Call the West Palm Beach commercial litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you have a business law case that needs to go to trial.