In a Texas jury trial, both sides (prosecution and defense) are given the opportunity to question the prospective jury members before actually selecting the jury. Usually, there is a panel of up to 70 or 80 in a felony trial. The State gets to go first and can questions jurors about their attitudes about the law. The defense follows with its own presentation, also asking questions designed to find out which jurors would be most receptive to any defensive theories. During this process, I will give my client a legal pad and pen and ask them to write down any observations about prospective jurors or the things they say that are of interest. Once both sides have addressed the panel, each side is given an opportunity to challenge potential jurors on legal grounds and try to get them excused. After that, both sides retire to neutral corners to review their notes and exercise their peremptory strikes (excusing jurors for any reason, except race, gender, national origin, etc.). The first 12 (or six in a misdemeanor case) who are left after the peremptory strikes have been sorted out is the jury. I will always solicit my client's input in the process of determining who to strike. I hope this helps.
What do you mean by "assist"? Of course a defendant has the right to watch and listen and take notes and discuss these things with his or her attorney.
The above is for academic purposes and is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.
Most attorney appreciate and accept the input of their clients during the course of jury selection to assist them in making the selections. But keep in mind that experienced criminal defense attorney have generally participated in selecting jurors on numerous occasions and have better insight into who to include or exclude. I hope this helps.
Most non-lawyers have a misconception about the jury selection process. You do not necessarily get to select who will sits on the jury panel. You also have no control over who is called to jury duty. Lawyers are responsible for removing persons who are biased and cannnot listen to the evidence and render a fair and impartial verdict. They also get a set number of peremtory challenges during the process. My suggestion would be to speak with your lawyer about the process of jury selection.
The information provided is not advice but a legal perspective and you should schedule a consultation with the lawyer of your choice.
While it is up to the attorney, I insist that the client watch the jury closely while I am questioning them and help me in picking the jury. The basic question concerning each juror is will they listen to me.
A person accused should absolutely assist in their defense. However, the lawyer has to make the call on who to strike in jury selection. Effective communication is a must in an attorney-client relationship. Hopefully, by the time you've reached trial in your case you've established a level of trust that your confident in your attorneys decisions in voir dire.
The jury selection process is more an art than a science. I generally pick a juror that I believe likes ME as the defense attorney and try the case somewhat directly to that person. The state has to convince 6 or 12 people; I only have to convince one.
With that being said, the Client may see a juror reaction or demeanor that I miss during the jury selection process. The Client is king but also is paying good money for his attorney's expertise. Input is welcome but you have hopefully hired someone that has tried many jury trials and is using that experience to further your best interest.
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Of course you can and should assist. You may notice something we did not. A great deal of winning a jury trial is getting the jurors to "like" the defense attorney and the defendant. In addition to the answers jurors will give, their body language, gestures, smiles, laughs, head shakes, eye rolls are a huge tell. The attorney cannot see everything.
Remember though, hopefully this will not be your attorney's first trial, so likely he/she will have a bit more experience in picking a jury than you do. Just talk it out, but wait until he/she looks to you for input. Do not interrupt!!! It will knock us off our train of thought and mess with any sort of continuity we may have going. If we miss something being said, because you were tugging at our sleeve, we may have just lost your case.