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Week 9 The Jury
Terms in this set (6)
When are Juries Used?
- Civil and criminal trials
- Twelve (12) jurors for a criminal trial and 4 for a civil trial.
- Reserve jurors are permitted and range between 2 & 6
Who are Members of a Jury?
- Members of the general public aged between 18 and 70
- Random selection from the electoral rolls
- Some are not eligible for jury service EG:
> Current or ex-police officers, Government officials & People with previous convictions
- Eligibility questionnaire
A Jury of your Peers
- In 2001-02, a sample of Queensland District Court Jurors contained:
> Persons aged between 18 and 69 years
> 107 females (56%)
> 65 jurors had a University education (34%); 38 jurors had some other form of tertiary education (20%)
> 73 jurors were not in the workforce
- Similar findings reported by UQ research (n = 33) (2009)
- When compared with ABS statistics - jurors appear better educated than Queensland residents overall
- There is almost no research pertaining to the number of Indigenous people called for jury service or sitting on Queensland juries.
Community Members who may be Excluded from Participating as Jurors
- Persons of old age, pregnant women, people with child-care responsibilities, people with a medical condition, individuals with prior criminal convictions, individuals who cannot speak English.
- Those with professional involvement in the legal system and any number of skilled occupational group members (doctors, school teachers, ministers, senior bureaucrats).
- All these exemptions from service make the jury pool less representative. (Chesterman, 2000)
2 Main Goals of Voir Dire Process
1) whether the potential jurors are qualified to serve as jurors
2) to identify any biases that may interfere with their ability to be impartial
Voir Dire Process
- Objection to a juror can be raised by defense or prosecution
- Lawyers make a challenge for cause to the judge that potential juror x is unsuitable for reasons y and the judge makes the decision to excuse or not.
- Whether a juror's particular background or beliefs make them biased and therefore unsuitable for service (Vidmar, 2000).
- Voir dire typically lasts hours but can take months - especially in trials with intense pre-trial publicity (PTP)
- It has been argued that there is no aspect of a criminal trial that is more important to the ultimate outcomes than the jury selection process (Lieberman & Sales, 2007).
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