May 21, 2012 By Wallin & Klarich

Quite often these days jury trials are broadcasted. Indeed, viewers are even privy to issues over which jurors are removed from the courtroom, such as evidentiary matters which might otherwise bias those who ultimately will determine the defendant’s fate. And when the verdict is read, often viewers are baffled by the jury’s decision.

It is fine to make independent judgments about trial evidence from home, but as a juror you are bound to a strict standard. In fact, there really can be no more important role for a juror than to follow procedures to the letter. If you have ever been selected for duty as a juror, or even were part of a pool of potentials, you have been given strict instructions on conduct.

A juror is admonished to listen to all the testimony, and consider all evidence without bias. Under no circumstances is it ever acceptable to investigate issues independent of the other jurors. Media coverage, including news articles and editorials, is to be avoided. High-profile case juries are often sequestered for this very reason. Even discussions about the case with family or friends can unduly influence a juror. Indeed, jurors are not even allowed to discuss the case with each other until they enter into deliberations. Only then has the case been handed over to them by the judge for consideration, with detailed and explicit instructions on how to conduct deliberations:

“You must decide all questions of fact in this case from the evidence received in this trial and not from any other source. When a witness has testified through a Certified Court Interpreter, you must accept the English interpretation of that testimony even if you would have translated the foreign language differently. You must not independently investigate the facts or the law or consider or discuss facts as to which there is no evidence. This means, for example, that you must not on your own visit the scene, conduct experiments, or consult reference works or persons for additional information. You must not discuss this case with any other person, including, but not limited to spouses, spiritual leaders or advisers, or therapists, except a fellow juror during deliberations when all twelve of you are together in the jury room, and then only after the case is submitted to you for your decision and only when all twelve jurors are present in the jury room.”

The value of juries in maintaining a just legal system cannot be overstated. However, only when jurors conduct themselves in strict accordance with the rules and instructions governing their position can fairness prevail.

For anyone facing a criminal proceeding, the importance of a fair jury takes on an even greater dimension of importance. If you or a loved one is facing a legal matter, you need the assistance of a criminal defense team that is both experienced and aggressive. Call Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys Wallin & Klarich for an evaluation of your case at 1-888-280-6839.

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