The Role of a Jury in a Trial

The Role of a Jury in a Trial

Many people mistakenly believe that judges have the ultimate decision-making power in a criminal trial. However, that authority instead rests upon the shoulders of the jury. These are average citizens who are tasked with making a sound decision based on all of the available facts.

Allowing people with very little legal knowledge to make these decisions might seem crazy at first, but it is one of the most important foundations of our legal system in the United States. In some ways, it is actually very encouraging. At the end of the day, we are all judged by a group of our own peers who live alongside us in the community.

If you find yourself facing criminal charges, you will need to enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. These legal professionals can help you convince these jury members of your innocence. Although it is true that you are “innocent until proven guilty,” you still need help from a criminal defense attorney to ensure that the jury sees all the available facts and evidence before making their decision. A criminal defense attorney can also limit the influence a prosecutor has on a jury.

Jury Selection in Massachusetts
Anyone above the age of 18 can serve as a jury member. These individuals are picked at random, although not everyone picked for jury duty is actually selected to serve as a trial juror. Before they are chosen, they are assessed based on any potential bias or prejudice that might affect their judgment. For example, someone whose mother has been killed by a drunk driver probably is not the best choice for a DUI trial. However, a juror can still make decisions based on past life experiences. In the end, the question is whether they can listen to the information discussed in the courtroom and properly apply Massachusetts law.

How Do Jurors Know What to Do?
Jurors know what to do because they are given instructions by the judge. A judge might ask them to leave the room at certain points. The judge will also explain to them the specific laws that pertain to that case.

How Do Jurors Make Their Final Decision?
After the prosecution and defense rests, the jury begins to deliberate. Usually, they must all come to a unanimous decision. In some cases, the jury cannot agree upon the right decision, and this is considered a “hung jury.” This results in a mistrial.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the Western Massachusetts area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than the Law Offices of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty. We know that facing criminal charges can be daunting, and leaving the final decision up to a jury might make you anxious. However, it is important to have faith in average people. They will see the truth, and they will typically make a fair decision. With our help, you can make sure jurors have the information they need to come to this fair decision. Book your consultation today, and we can immediately get started on an effective defense strategy together. 413-732-8356