The american jury, fiche de droit américain de 4 pages, en anglais
In the beginning, juries were only composed of witnesses who had seen what had happened and who were under the judge's authority. Little by little, jurors become independent from the judge but also from the facts.
[...] A bill of indictment is presented to the grand jury. This last examines the accused and witnesses (who are only witnesses of the prosecution and who cannot be questioned by the accused). If a witness refuses to come or do a wrong testimony, he or she could go in jail but he or she can plead the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer the questions if the answers can incriminate him or her (but this technique could be dangerous because the grand jury could think this witness is guilty). [...]
[...] The selection of a trial jury, also called petit jury, is done into two phases: first, a jury pool is chosen, then the trial jury itself. The jury pool is the list of the potential jurors on which the jury panel, that is to say the trial jury, will be elaborated. The selection of the petit jury among the jury pool is called the procedure of “voir dire”. Here intervene the very famous challenges which permit to expulse persons who could be partial; potential jurors are questioned by the lawyer of the defendant and by the prosecutor usually but the judge can also do it. [...]
[...] Jury consultants prepare the trial in using virtual jurors, searching personal information on all pool jurors, testing all the possibilities of jury and finally advise the lawyer of which person to challenge and which one to keep to have the most favorable jury for your client. There is no similar procedure for the grand jury. Usually, a trial jury is composed of 12 jurors as well as at the federal level and the State level but some States provides, in certain civil cases, fewer than 12 persons (as the 7th Amendment itself does not restrict the States) and even sometimes in criminal cases but here you must have at least 6 members. [...]
[...] Their employers do not paid them if they cannot go to work unless a collective agreement provides it. B. The grand jury: In criminal cases and only in criminal matter, the accused has the right to have a grand jury according to the 5th Amendment person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury [ In some States, a capital crime has to be alleged, in others, lesser offences are sufficient. [...]
[...] The public trusts the jury. The jury is also appreciated by judges in that sense that it forces attorneys and experts to be intelligible and clear in their questions, in their reports Nevertheless, critics can be done: jurors are not always enough qualified for complex cases; jurors are not exactly representatives because of the exemptions and the challenges; they are not always impartial despite the challenges; they could feel bored; lawyers can manipulate them in that sense that they know how to use the language, how to behave; jurors allocated sometimes too important damages; there are a lot of absenteeism because people try to escape their role of juror. [...]
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