A jury is a group of selected people who would provide their own decision of whether a person is guilty or not guilty of a crime. In simpler terms, a jury duty acts as the voice of the community.
Like any other states, in Nevada, the jury selection process is random and everyone could have a chance to be part of one. Criminal and civil cases are usually the ones that get a jury, and domestic violence, being one of the closely watched crimes by the government and society, definitely needs the opinion of the general public since it can also evolve to a federal crime. On this article, we talk about the jury selection process and answer questions like how many jurors are there in a trial and how does a jury trial actually work.
Qualifications to be a jury
To be one of the juries in Nevada, you need to be a resident of the State. And since the jury selection process is random, you might not be qualified at the time. Nonetheless, the qualifications of being jury are not that stringent and everyone could be a juror if they are:
- A voter of the State, registered or not
- Possessing sufficient knowledge of the English language
- Not a convict of treason, felony, or any other crimes
- Not rendered incapable due to physical or mental infirmity
As we have stated before, the jury selection process is done by chance. One day you will receive a traditional or electronic mail detailing when and where you should report and the contact number that you can use to initially respond to the summoning.
Once at the place where you should report, you will be grouped with other prospective jurors towards the courtroom where the criminal case is being tried. There, you and the rest of the jury will be questioned by the judge, the attorneys, and the prosecutor through a process called “voir dire”. Questions could vary from general to personal queries. This is done to determine if you have the capacity to produce a sound verdict and that you do not have biases or prejudices. If you pass the questioning, you can stay as one of the jurors. If you, however, fall short on certain qualifications, you will be sent home.
Duties of a jury
After the jury selection process and all 12 jurors are seated, the jury trial process will commence and the court will select a presiding juror or the spokesperson of the group. During the hearing, the jury must remain undivided and independent and not influenced by external factors. For example, they should not be swayed by the emotional pleas of a defendant if there is clear proof that he or she committed domestic violence. Despite the name, jurors should not judge quickly rather they must wait for every case components to be laid down before judging. Basing only on the evidence and the instructions of the judge to come up with a final decision is the primal core of the jury’s assignment.
Jurors must also treat everything inside the court as confidential. Confiding the elements of the case with other jurors or anyone in the court is prohibited, as well as trying to involve yourself on the investigation by looking for pieces of evidence or questioning the defendant or the plaintiff by yourself.
If you were chosen as the presiding juror or foreman, you will be the one to write down the jury’s decision on an Issue Paper.
Violation of jury laws
Even a jury duty has some strict laws that uphold it. First off, you must not refuse a jury selection process unless you want to risk potential jail time and some fines. If you do not show up to a summon, the court will order a show cause wherein you will have to report and present valid reasons on why you did not make it. Failing to attend a show cause is an immediate civil contempt and you will have to pay $500.
However, you can still avoid jury duty if you have reasonable excuses or you have under positions that grant you exemption such as severe illness or disability, your job as a police officer, you previous participation as a jury, and other situations that you could not easily get out of. If your excuses are justified enough, the court shall make an exclusion.
If you happen to be falsely charged with domestic violence in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada, keep in mind that there is a high probability of the court using a jury trial process to help come up with a definite decision. To avoid conviction, you need to have a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas by your side to convince the jury that you are not guilty of the pressed crimes.