Explainer: How was the jury chosen in Trump’s case, how are they selected from the public

Vardhan


Highlights

In America, juries decide criminal casesThe jury is selected from the publicThe jury is selected from the public

In Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, prosecutors and defense lawyers presented closing arguments on May 28. The arguments were presented before the jury members. Now this 12-member jury will decide Trump’s fate whether he should be convicted or not. Here we will know how this jury will give its verdict and how much time it has. The most important thing is that the people in the jury need not be experts in law but they have to express agreement or disagreement on the basis of solid arguments. The decision is always unanimous.

There will be 12 jury members in the case against Trump. All of them are residents of New York. Their identity is kept secret. Also, people from the defense or prosecution side associated with the case can never contact them directly. If they ever have to say something, they convey it to them through the judge.

Question – If the jurors are not knowledgeable about the law, then why are they included in the jury?
– In America and many other countries, the decision of the cases is left to the jury after the final hearing in the judge’s court. The judge conducts the entire decision-making process with this jury behind the doors. Yes, it definitely happens that before the jury starts deliberating on the case, they will be given all the information about the case. Along with this, they will also be given guidelines by the judge on the relevant law.

Explainer: How was the jury chosen in Trump's case, how are they selected from the public

There is still a tradition of jury in many countries, but in many countries including India, the tradition of jury has been abolished. (Wiki Commons)

Question – How much time does a jury take to take a decision?
– The verdict in the first criminal trial against a former US president, involving 12 New Yorkers, could take hours, days or even weeks.

Question – How are the jury members selected and what is their number?
– The number of jury members varies in different states of America. In this case, the number of jury members is 12. They do not have to talk about this case in public. Whatever process is going on, it has to be kept secret. After administering oath to them, it is believed that they will take a fair decision unanimously.

Jurors are selected according to certain criteria set by the court. For example, in Trump’s case, a list of 500 jurors from New York City was initially prepared. Then they were investigated and evaluated. Out of these, 96 were shortlisted and invited to the court.

A major eligibility condition for all these is that they should be impartial. They should not be former acquaintances of any party or have sympathy for them. They or their family members should never be involved in any case, no criminal or corruption case should ever be proved against them. In this case, when the 12-member jury was selected, it was found that two jury members or their family members were involved in some case or the taint of corruption had come upon them, so they were immediately suspended. Two people were taken from the reserve jury member panel.

Explainer: How was the jury chosen in Trump's case, how are they selected from the public

Jurors during a trial.

While the judge approves the selection of the jury members, the lawyers of both sides should also agree to it. They should not have any objection to this selection.

Question – Is the identity of the jury kept secret?
– Of course it is kept secret. Even the media cannot reveal their names or identities. A member selected for the jury in Trump’s case was worried that his name had become public, so he resigned from the post.

Question – What qualification questionnaire do they have to fill out during the initial jury selection process?
– When the jury is called to the court for selection, before that they have to fill an eligibility questionnaire, in which they have to give all the information about themselves and tell whether they are American citizens or not. When they are shortlisted and called to the court, there too they are questioned, which reveals their thoughts, attitude etc. Not only the judge questions them but the prosecution and defense lawyers also ask them. This process is such that it is known whether you are neutral or on someone’s side.

Explainer: How was the jury chosen in Trump's case, how are they selected from the public

Jury selection in the US is different from that in Scotland, England and Wales.

Question – It is said in America that jury members are selected through the voir dire process, what is this?
– The US takes a different approach to selecting or dismissing jurors than the United Kingdom. The US uses the process of voir dire. Voir dire is a French word that means to tell the truth. So in voir dire, you are expected to tell the truth, which will be tested.

The process of selecting jurors begins with the largest number of jurors and is repeated until a group of about 14 (12 jurors and two alternate jurors) is selected. Sometimes this can vary, such as the 6 alternate jurors being selected for the Trump trial.

Q. What are some of the types of questions that are asked during jury selection?
– Usually these questions are simple but reveal a lot about the personality. During the selection process, lawyers may ask general questions such as “Do you know the defendant?” or “Have you ever been involved in a protest?”. An attempt is made to find out whether the potential juror is suffering from any prejudice. The psychology of the jury members is also observed.

Question – How are juries selected in Scotland, England and Wales?
– In England, Wales and Scotland, jurors are selected at random from the electoral register and then sorted out from among those called.

Question – Is there discrimination in the selection of jury?
– In principle, there is no discrimination between blacks, whites, men and women in jury selection, but if we talk about reality, there have always been allegations of jury selection being influenced by race. A lot has been published in America about this.

Q. How does a jury decide?
– These people sit behind closed doors and debate. All of them have to agree on any decision. If this is not the case then the accused will take advantage of it.

Question – Is jury selection different in every case?
– Yes, a jury is selected separately for each case. But it is not necessary that a jury be kept in every case. They are kept in some civil cases, defamation cases and also in famous criminal cases.

Question – Do jury members also get money?
– Yes, jurors in the United States are paid for their service. Compensation varies by state and territory. It can be lump sum or daily. For example, federal jurors are paid $50 per day. They also receive a travel allowance. In the state of Massachusetts, jurors are paid $50 per day after the first three days of service.

Tags: donald trump, Supreme Court, Trump News

Share This Article
Leave a comment