There are eight stages in a Criminal Trial, the trial initiation, jury selection, openings statements, presentation of evidence, closing arguments, judge’s charge to the jury, jury deliberations and the verdict. In this essay I will focus on the jury selection stage. A criminal petit jury is very important in a trial. The jury is responsible for deciding whether a defendant committed the crime as charged. In a criminal trial there are usually 12 members in a jury. The jury selection is conducted by both the prosecution and the defense attorneys. An examination process called voir dire is performed on each potential juror, to ensure any unbiased or preconceived notions of guilt or innocence doesn’t exist. Any person desiring or summoned by a judge to sit on the panel must meet certain qualifications. An individual must be 18 years of age, be a citizen, live in the judicial area for one year, and speak English, no mental or physical conditions or any felony charges.
Certain people are excused from juror duty; armed forces, professional fire, police and public officers. The Jury Act will excuse a person from jury duty on the grounds of undue hardship or an extreme inconvenience. In Florida the case of Casey Anthony vs. The State of Florida, the jury selection was difficult. The problem with this case is that the media made a big mess of the information released. Many people saw, read or heard about the case, potentially causing them to be unbiased or perceiving a notion to whether Casey was guilty or innocent. The charges and details of the evidence were released to the public. Due to the nature of this case it was titled as a high profile case.
Casey Anthony’s name was all over the country; I remember during the time of the trial, the only thing on television was something about her case. There were pictures of her daughter, family and personal life. A lot of suspected evidence was shared with the public as well as information about where evidence was found. A jury selection could normally take about one day. Jurors could be removed from the selection process for any reason. The judge (Belvin Perry) dismissed more than two dozen potential jurors.
The potential jurors discussed the case while in a private room with other jurors. One male juror was held in contempt of court and fined $450.00 for attempting to talk about the case with a television producer. After the long process of selecting a juror panel, the trial lasted about eight weeks and the jury was sequestered. Sequestered is when the jury is isolated from the public during the trial and deliberation. A decision was made and Casey Anthony was found not guilty. .