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When picking a jury doest the defendant have a say in who gets picked?

Salem, MA |
Attorney answers 8


Defendants have a constitutional right to participate in the selection of their jury. There is no set profile for juror in a DUI case. Since you are anticipating a jury trial I assume you have an attorney. Ask him/her these kinds of questions. Your attorney should be the sole source of information and assistance to you. I would recommend that you not do your own legal research. If you are not comfortable with counsel you need to discuss that with your attorney, resolve it, or move on to another lawyer with whom you are comfortable.


Both sides examine prospective jurors in the process known as voir dire. Any juror can be excused for cause; each side also has a certain number of peremptory challenges.

If you are facing criminal charges, you will need an attorney. If you are indigent, the court will have appointed one for you. If not, you have - or should have - retained your own attorney. Either way, you should be discussing this with them; not here.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


I agree with my colleagues. I would retain an attorney to represent you before a jury. The attorney will discuss juror profiles with the client.


Yes, but this is complex. Hope you have an attorney.

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Criminal Law (all misdemeanor & felonies in District and Superior Courts), Drunk Driving and Drug arrests, Sex Offenses, SORB, Crimes involving Violence or Theft, Domestic (Divorce, Child Custody, Alimony and Child Support) and Family Law (Modification, Contempts & Paternity), Juvenile Law, Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders, Business Law, Personal Injury claims, Probate Law (Guardianships, Conservatorships & Estate Administration) and Legal Malpractice. For these and other areas, contact me. NOTE: This preceding message DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. It is not a protected or confidential communication. The statements made herein are not to be interpreted as representations or warranties of any kind. No reliance should be placed on the statements made herein. It is recommended that the recipient(s) should undertake their own research to reach their own opinion. The writer does not accept professional responsibility on this matter. TO CREATE an attorney-client relationship REQUIRES a signed retainer/fee agreement along with a retainer fee that must be received by my office.


Although you have a right to participate in jury selection, it is unwise to conduct a jury trial without a lawyer. If you already have a lawyer, discuss jury selection with him or her before the trial. However, if you do not have a lawyer, hire one ASAP. Do not delay.

Contact 508-792-9900 to hire Attorney Claxton. The information contained in this answer is not a substitute for hiring a lawyer and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Nothing you post on this website is confidential.


Rule 20 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure (available online) lays out the rules for picking a jury in a criminal trial. The direct answer to your question is YES, the defendant does have a say in who gets picked. Every day citizens are summonsed to Court for jury duty. This large group is called the jury pool. When the trial of a criminal case begins a number of people from the jury pool are brought into the courtroom. This group is called the "venire". From this "venire" the trial jury is chosen. In the District Courts and in the Boston Municipal Court the trial jury consists of six people. In the Superior Court the trial jury consists of 12 people. Both the Prosecution and the Defense participate in picking the jury. Both sides have the right to challenge prospective jurors. Both sides have unlimited challenges for cause. A challenge for cause is based primarily on a juror's bias for or against the state or the Defendant. For example, if a prospective juror was related to the Defendant (e.g. a cousin of the Defendant) then the state could challenge that juror for cause. Conversely, if a prospective juror was a good friend of the victim then the Defense could challenge that juror for cause. Peremptory challenges are challenges for which neither side has to state a cause. These are strictly limited. In the trial of a crime punishable by life imprisonment each side has 12 peremptory challenges. In all other criminal trials where there are twelve jurors each side is allowed 4 peremptory challenges. In all other criminal trials where there are six jurors each side is entitled to 2 peremptory challenges. The typical OUI case in a district court has a jury of six people; therefore, each side has 2 peremptory challenges. For each juror in the "venire" the prosecutor and the defense lawyer are given a juror information sheet (a questionnaire filled out by the juror ahead of time). The Defense lawyer and the Defendant have an opportunity to review these sheets as the jurors are called. Acting together the Defense lawyer and the Defendant can formulate a strategy as to which prospective jurors from the "venire" they will challenge. As to the second part of your question as to "what type/profile of people would you pick for a oui defense" 10 lawyers would probably give you ten different answers. Personally I prefer older jurors in an oui case. In my experience people under thirty find it easy to say guilty. People over fifty are much more skeptical of law enforcement. I hope this helps.

Robert D. Lewin, Attorney
Offices in Malden and Andover serving all of Eastern MA
Tel. 781-322-2228
Fax. 781-322-6351


Both sides participate in jury selection. You may want to consult a lawyer.

This information does not constitute am attorney / client relationship and is just a general answer to the question posed with the limited facts available. There is no substitute to a consultation with an attorney licensed in your State.


Yes. I agree with what has been said. A criminal defendant can challenge certain jurors as of right and others for cause. I would personally favor college age jurors and stray away from persons in the medical industry.

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