Selecting a Jury in a Massachusetts OUI Trial
Anyone charged with OUI in Massachusetts has the opportunity to have their case heard by a jury. The jury will consist of seven members of the community where the case is being heard; one juror is designated as the alternate, meaning back up juror and six jurors deliberate to reach a verdict. A jury must reach a unanimous verdict or the trial will end in a mistrial, or hung jury, meaning that the case will have to be tried again before a different jury.How are jurors selected in Massachusetts?
Prior to a jury trial, the court will bring in about 12 to 20 people as the pool of jurors. The judge reads a serious of questions provided by the Massachusetts OUI lawyer that attempt to exclude jurors for cause that may have a particular bias against the defendant charged; the prosecutor can also excluded jurors who appear to sympathetic to the accused, with the goal that a fair and impartial jurors is selected. DUI lawyer would want to obtain a juror that would be most willing to accept the arguments being advanced by the defendant in support of a not guilty verdict.
At a Massachusetts OUI trial, the clerk of the court will call the first seven jurors on the list as the potential jurors. Each juror is asked if they had any positive response to the list of questions read in court, which include questions such as whether a juror would have trouble disbelieving the testimony of a police officer or whether the juror is a member of Mother's Against Drunk Driving or any organization aimed at more restrictive DUI laws. Additionally, I have asked jurors whether they are aware of recent news Articles from the Boston Globe regarding Massachusetts DUI trials and have written about Drunk driving on Facebook, Twitter or other social media.What information is known to a Massachusetts OUI lawyer about the jurors prior to trial?
The court provides each attorney with a list of potential jurors and provides basic information. This information includes biographical information, such as the juror's employment, level of education, spouse's employment and involvement with the court system, including whether they or any close family members have been ever charged with a criminal offense. Notably absent from the basic jury information, are questions about attitudes toward alcohol consumption. As a Massachusetts OUI lawyer, I can ask the judge to ask additional questions of the juror regarding alcohol consumption. The extent to which a judge will allow additional questioning varies between judges.
After a jury is selected, both sides are permitted to give opening statements. An opening statement is a preview of what the defense lawyer believes the evidence will show. In bench trials, opening statements are typically not made.
To understand more about jury selection, you can call Attorney DelSignore at 781-686-5924 or 508-455-4755.