Juries have an extremely important role to play within the criminal justice system. A juror has to hear evidence which is presented by the prosecution and defense and must apply the law (as explained by the judge) to the facts which are presented. Jurors are not supposed to be biased and are not allowed to bring outside knowledge into the courtroom. Rules and requirements for juror behavior are essential in order to ensure that every defendant has a fair and impartial trial and gets the benefit of due process before being convicted or acquitted.
Defendants who have been accused of a criminal act must understand what the rules are for the jury who will be deciding their fate. Knowing the requirements and regulations on juror conduct is key to ensuring that jurors do not do anything that could jeopardize the right to a fair trial. A Las Vegas defense lawyer can provide help to defendants in protecting them from biased jurors and in ensuring that the trial process proceeds according to the requirements in place to ensure a fair and unbiased hearing.
Our lawyers at LV Criminal Defense have extensive experience providing representation to defendants who have been charged with crimes. We can help you to decide if a bench trial before a judge or a trial before a jury is most likely to result in a favorable outcome in your case. We can also provide assistance with jury selection and with making sure you put the rules of criminal procedure to work as part of your legal strategy. Give us a call today if you want assistance with any aspects of your criminal case so we can get to work on representing your interests.
The state of Nevada sets forth many rules of criminal procedure within Title 14 of the Nevada Code. In Title 14, Chapter 175 specifically addresses the essential requirements of a fair trial. There are subsections within Chapter 175 that set rules for different aspects of criminal proceedings, including the conduct of a trial and including the conduct of the jury.
The rules for jury conduct are found within Nevada Revised Statutes sections 175.391 to 175.471. These rules address:
• When a jury can separate, depart for home overnight, or be kept under the charge of a proper officer or court official. A jury is free to separate or go home at any time during proceedings, at the discretion of the court. However, once the prosecutor and defense have concluded their cases and the case has gone to the jury to decide, the jurors commence deliberation and the rules change. After commencing deliberation, jurors are kept together with an officer in charge. They are usually kept in a private, convenient place and no outside communication is permitted. They may only depart to go home overnight, and only at the discretion of the judge.
• The admonishment a court must make to a jury at each break. Whenever the court adjourns, the jurors must be warned against conversing amongst themselves or with others about the conduct of the trial. The jurors also have to be warned not to read, watch, or listen to any reports or commentary about the case. This includes commentary on TV or on the radio. Finally, the jurors have to be told by the court that they should not form or express any opinion on the case until the case has been given to the jury to make a decision.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
• The accommodations that can be provided to the jury, and the power of the court to provide space for the jury to deliberate when the case has gone to the jury. There are also requirements that jurors be provided with food and lodging when they are kept together.
• The rights of jurors to take written notices, to review materials that have been received into evidence, and to review their notes and the evidence when the jury has retired to deliberate the case.
• The process in which a jury can return for information. Once the jury has retired for deliberation, they can let the officer who is in charge know if there is a disagreement among them on any part of the testimony or if they wish to be informed about any points of law. After letting the officer know, the jurors can be brought into court and the information they are seeking should be provided to them after the defendant and prosecutor are provided with notice.
• When the jury can be discharged. Once both sides have concluded presenting their evidence and the case has been given to the jury to decide, the jury should not be discharged until they have agreed upon a verdict and until they have rendered that verdict to the court. However, if there is no reasonable probability that the jury can agree after a proper amount of time for deliberation, then the jury can be discharged and a mistrial can be declared.
These rules are very important because they help to protect defendants from a guilty verdict due to juror misconduct. When a defendant believes any rules are being violated, it is important to take proper action. There are procedures for making sure the jury remains unbiased, and even for having members of the jury excused. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can provide assistance, advice, and advocacy on jury relations in order to best protect defendants.
The jury selection process is just the start of the important interactions that you will have with the jury during your criminal case. You need to do everything possible to ensure a jury that is favorable to you, or at least unbiased. Las Vegas defense attorney Nicholas Wooldridge can provide help in the jury selection process and at all phases of your criminal case.
Give us a call today to find out more about the assistance LV Criminal Defense can offer you in trying to convince a jury to acquit when you’re charged with criminal acts.