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The Role of Jury Selection in Due Process

April 6, 2016 | Written by Dan Margolis

Several amendments to the Constitution set the foundation for due process to be properly served in Ohio and around the country. One essential component of due process is an impartial jury, which can only happen through rigorous jury selection.

Laws between states may be different, but according to Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, the procedures to determine the guilt of a person accused of violating the law, as well as any subsequent punishments, must follow due process. This includes a hearing in front of a judge or trial by jury, depending on the crime. The Fifth Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, states that no punishments can be passed unless due process has occurred, and the 14th Amendment ensures the same process takes place in all states.

In trials that require a jury, it is vital that the jurors are impartial and pass judgment solely based on the evidence provided in the courtroom, the American Bar Association states. They also should not be associated with any individuals, businesses or entities that may be involved in the trial. This ensures that jurors go into the trial with no personal biases and no prior opinion about the person’s guilt, thereby providing the person with a fair trial.

Jury selection becomes an important component of finding these impartial individuals. The attorneys and judges question prospective jurors in a process known as voir dire (French for “to tell the truth”) to determine whether any of the previously mentioned factors exist. It may take a long time to find the appropriately impartial individuals for a jury so that due process is served.

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