Selecting the Jury in the McKinney Dog Bite Case

The process for selecting a jury is called voir dire. Voir dire is an opportunity to talk to the jurors about issues that are important in the case and see if their personal life and their life view is such that the person is going to be biased or not. The lawyers are trying to determine which potential jurors could be biased to the case.

In Texas, there is an entire panel of people and, depending upon the size of the case, the panel could be large or could be much smaller. It is typical to have 36 to 40 people if the lawyer is trying to pick out six jurors. It is very common to have 75 to 80 people if they are trying to pick out 12. Reach out to an experienced lawyer for more information about selecting a jury for a dog bite case in McKinney.

Issues of Bias in Jury Selection

A potential juror who has prejudices to the case will likely be dismissed. The lawyer has to determine whether or not people are going to be fair to the case.

The lawyer will ask my questions and make notes of people who are showing certain biases. The defense lawyer then gets to stand up and ask questions. It is much easier for the defense than it is for the plaintiff because most of the issues regarding the case have already been talked about.

They will ask their questions and try to identify people who might not be ideal for the case. Once all that happens, the lawyers make challenges for cause. A challenge for cause is a challenge that lawyers make to the judge saying, “Judge, this particular juror said X in answering the questions. They have shown bias or prejudice and they should not be allowed to sit on this jury. They said they could not be fair. They said that they are not going to compensate for mental anguish no matter if the plaintiff has it or not. They are not going to follow the law.”

The judge rules on those individual jurors. The judge can bring jurors back in individually to individually question them if the lawyers thought that they said different things or they thought they said it in a different way or if the judge was not sure that the jurors truly disqualified themselves. They will bring the juror back in and ask a couple of questions that are relevant to that area and then the judge makes a decision.

Peremptory Challenges

After all of that happens, then the lawyers do their peremptory challenges, which are challenges that they can make for any reason at all. Typically, the plaintiff and defendant in a district court case each have six challenges. In a county court at law case, they typically have three peremptory challenges each.

The law says they can be for any reason or no reason at all except for a prohibited discriminatory reason. For instance, a lawyer cannot use a peremptory challenge to challenge someone based on a discriminatory reason such as the juror’s race or religion.

Final Selection of Jury

After all those challenges are made, the judge compares the plaintiff’s challenges from the defendant’s challenges and then the judge will announce the first 12 people in district court or the first six people in county court at law. They will identify those people, who will go in and they take a seat in the jury in their jury seats. They are then sworn in as jurors in the case.

Call today for more information about selecting a jury and the importance of obtaining a lawyer who has trial experience.

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