Important Facts About Jury Trials in Civil and Criminal Proceedings

November 1, 2019

Serving Clients in Civil and Criminal Cases Across Ocean and Monmouth Counties for Decades

Important Facts About Jury Trials in New Jersey

Having your day in court, so to speak, is one of the most important elements of our criminal justice system and is one that sets us apart from many other countries. However, television has put forth many misconceptions about jury trials. If are about to go before a jury as a defendant or you are about to serve as a juror for the first time, you will need to know how a jury trial works in the State of New Jersey.

For example, in New Jersey, not every case is heard by a jury. In some cases, a judge may be the decider of fact without the assistance of a jury; as is the case in certain civil actions.

10 Facts About Jury Trials

  1. As previously mentioned, not all cases are heard by juries. A judge may decide a case alone in certain civil cases. These include family matters, such as divorce, adoption or custody hearings. This is also the case in tenant/landlord disputes, collections issues, DWI’s or other municipal court cases where no one was injured, juvenile court issues, workers compensation cases, and probate or chancery cases.
  2. Juries will always be used for criminal cases that are heard on both federal and state levels as the right to a trial by jury is guaranteed by the 6th Amendment to the Constitution in criminal cases.
  3. Jurors may be used for certain civil cases in the State of New Jersey. These may include slip and fall cases, wrongful death cases, medical malpractice lawsuits, automobile accidents as well as in both product and premises liability cases.
  4. In both civil and criminal cases, the role of the juror remains the same. Jurors are there to review the evidence presented and listen to all of the information provided by the courts and be the deciders of fact. At the end of both types of trials, the jury will deliver a verdict.
  5. Due to the fact that a jury is intended to provide a judgment by your ‘peers’, jurors are selected from citizens in your area and particular jurisdiction.
  6. Representing attorneys are required to go through a process called ‘voir dire’. This is when they interview prospective jurors about their backgrounds in order to find any potential biases that could unfairly sway a verdict. Ideally, they will want jurors that can act without prejudice toward the particular crime or towards the defendant. After, the judge will ask further questions of potential jury members to assure that there are no biases throughout the trial.
  7. In New Jersey, there will be a total of six jurors in civil jury trials to observe and review the evidence presented.
  8. There will be a total of twelve jurors in New Jersey when it comes to a criminal trial. As in civil cases, their job is to observe and review the evidence presented. In the majority of cases, two more alternate jurors will be selected as alternates for emergency situations. They will also be present throughout the trial.
  9. Jurors are required to follow a set of rules to make sure the trial is carried out fairly and justly. For example, jurors are not permitted to talk to about the case, the evidence, or the parties involved with other jurors or people outside of the trial while the trial is going on. Furthermore, jurors should not talk about the case with either the attorneys working the case nor any other attorney. Moreover, it is common for the judge to instruct the jurors to not listen to the news media to avoid being influenced by outside opinions.
  10. It’s important to know that jurors are not required to be law professionals or legal experts. For this reason, the judge will address the jury at both the beginning and at the end of the trial to discuss the laws involved in the criminal or civil case. This will allow the jury to deliberate with full knowledge of laws pertaining to that specific case.

The importance of good legal representation in any jury trial

Before participating in a jury trial where a jury will decide the distribution of property or your freedom, it is critical to understand how a jury works. In any jury trial, the most important aspect is just that, the jury.

Contact an Experienced Civil and/or Criminal Defense Attorney in Monmouth County NJ TodayIt is important to realize that the individuals who comprise a jury come into the case with their own life experiences, thoughts, and opinions. The selection of your jury and those on it will be critical to the outcome of your case be it positive or negative. This selection should be handled by a skilled and experienced attorney in order to assure that your case will be heard and judged fairly.

One of the most crucial traits that all sides will look for in a potential juror is the ability to be unbiased. This means someone who can keep an open mind about the case and give a fair shake to the evidence that is presented. An experienced attorney can recognize and eliminate those individuals who their experience tells them may not be able to perform as unbiased jurors. Furthermore, an experienced attorney will understand the best way to present evidence in your favor so that it has maximum impact and resonates in the minds of the jury. As well as make sure that all laws are properly applied to your case.

For these reasons, your choice of legal representation has a direct effect on the make-up of your jury and thus can have a profound impact on the results of your case.

Contact an Experienced Civil and/or Criminal Defense Attorney in Monmouth County NJ Today

At Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington, we have extensive experience with jury trials in Monmouth County, NJ, including the critical stage of jury selection.

The prospect of facing a jury in court is an intimidating proposition for anyone. Having good and effective legal counsel is critical to your case. Our aggressive approach to defending our clients has given us experience in all stages of jury trials and allows us to gain the best possible outcome for our clients.

Please contact our firm today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your case, please call 732-440-3950 or 888-328-9131 (toll-free) to speak with one of our attorneys at no cost or visit our website to fill out an online contact form.