The jury for a criminal trial can make a substantial impact on whether a defendant is convicted or is able to secure an acquittal. The voir dire process is used to question jurors and to determine if they can serve impartially on a jury or if there is reason to disqualify them. Both a plaintiff’s attorney and a defendant’s attorney are able to excuse jurors with preemptory challenges, which means they can have a potential juror removed from the panel without providing a specific reason why. Nevada law also allows for the removal of jurors for cause.
When you are facing criminal charges, it is imperative you have a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer representing you who understands the rules for choosing a jury and who can take a strategic approach to jury selection. LV Criminal Defense can provide the skilled representation you need at all phases of a criminal trial, including when a jury is being selected. Contact us as soon as possible if you are facing a court case in the criminal justice system and you want advice from a lawyer who can help you to put together a strong jury and a strategic defense.
Nevada Revised Statute section 175.036 provides details on when it is possible to challenge jurors for cause. If a juror is challenged and there is reason to believe the juror is not able to serve impartially, the juror can be disqualified or removed from the jury panel. This does not use up one of a limited number of peremptory challenges that a plaintiff and defendant have during the jury selection process. An unlimited number of jurors can be removed for cause, provided there are legitimate grounds for doing so.
According to N.R.S. 175.036, either side can challenge a juror if there is something that would prevent the person from adjudicating the case fairly. The same statute makes clear that the court will try challenges for cause. The juror who is being challenged for disqualification can be examined as a witness in determining whether the juror cannot fairly adjudicate the fats of the case. Other witnesses can also be called who can provide details on whether or not the juror can be impartial.
If you wish to challenge a juror for cause, you need to be prepared to demonstrate why the juror is not able to fairly and impartially hear evidence and decide on the facts of the case. There are a number of possible reasons why a juror could be challenged for cause, such as:
There are a variety of different possible reasons to challenge a juror for cause. An experienced criminal defense attorney with knowledge of best practices for jury selection can explore different possible reasons why a juror who is likely to be unfavorable to the defendant should be excused. The more jurors that you can remove who are pre-disposed against you or who are likely to vote for your guilt, the better your chances are of securing an acquittal.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
To challenge a juror for cause, you will need to show the juror has a bias or impaired position which prevents him or her from serving on the jury panel as a fair and impartial finder of facts. When questioning witnesses or questioning the juror, you must ensure you provide sufficient evidence to show the court why the juror needs to be excused.
You can work to convince the court that a juror should be excused for cause in a number of ways. As you try to convince the court to excuse a juror, you may wish to repeat the exact words that you believe suggest the bias. You can follow up with open ended questions to get more information on why the bias would make the potential juror unable to be objective during the case and can also ask leading questions aimed at trying to get the juror to state his biased opinion more clearly.
You will need to demonstrate how the bias or impairment can provide the grounds to challenge the juror. One of the best ways to do this is to get the potential juror to admit the fact that the bias would affect his or her ability to serve on the jury. There is a difference between might effect and would effect their ability to hear the case and assess the facts objectively, so you should try to get the juror to clearly state that he would not be able to separate personal opinion or feelings from his decision on the law.
This process can be complicated because you need to know the right questions to ask, as well as how to ask the questions in such a way to get the juror and other witnesses to make their bias clear. An experienced legal professional can offer invaluable assistance with juror challenges.
A Las Vegas defense lawyer can provide advice on when a juror can be challenged and can provide assistance during the entire jury selection process. Contact LV Criminal Defense today to learn more about the ways in which a defense attorney can help you to develop a strong defense strategy, including using strategic methods to try to get the best possible jury.