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Grant M. Scheiner - Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer

Understanding The Attorney’s Goal During Jury Selection in a Texas Criminal Case

Attorneys know that in trial for a criminal case, whether it be a DWI, DUI, sexual assault, or drug possession case, one of the most important phases is jury selection. The rules for jury selection vary depending on what state you are in, but in Texas, criminal defense lawyers know that the rules regarding jury selection and “voir dire” allow for the selection of a jury that will be fair.

For Texas criminal defense attorneys, probably the most important function of jury selection is to identify potential jurors who might harbor a bias that would make it difficult for them to listen to the evidence objectively. In a DWI or DUI case, for example, a criminal defense lawyer would want to know whether a potential juror might have had an unusually bad experience with alcohol that would make him unable to be fair to both sides. In a sexual assault case, a criminal defense attorney would want to know if the juror, or someone close to the juror, was a victim of sexual assault. Finally, in a drug possession case, criminal defense lawyers would want to know whether a potential juror has a close friend or family member who has been affected by drug abuse.

In Texas, criminal defense lawyers actually get to ask specific questions to potential jurors regarding virtually any topic. Sometimes, the questions asked by the criminal defense attorneys may seem personal, but it is in everyone’s interest that the attorneys end up with a jury that will be fair to both sides. If you are not selected for a jury, you should not feel bad – some people are better suited than others to hear particular types of cases.

Criminal defense attorneys are aware that different types of cases – whether they are DWI, DUI, sexual assault or drug possession cases – present very different issues, and a good criminal defense lawyer will structure a voir dire in a manner that will allow bias to be uncovered. It is also important that the lawyer receive feedback from the client regarding potential jurors because often, intuition is a very valuable tool.