Jury Trials

Plea Agreement Or Jury Trial

Once defense counsel evaluates all of the relatable evidence in a case obtained by either federal or state authorities, and proper motions are filed and acted upon through legal process, it’s at this time, after proper dialogue with the defendant’s attorney that the option is now available for the client to join in the decision of if they desire to consent to the possibility of a plea agreement, disposing of the case by a plea, or exercising their right to request a trial by jury. The selection of the choice of these two options should be made sensibly after the potentials for a favorable outcome is discussed and decided with counsel. The right of a trial by jury is always the unequivocal right of the client's to exercise, and my office at all times respects the decision of any client to exercise that legitimate right.

A trial by jury starts with jury selection. This is well-known as the Latin phrase "voir dire". State court felonies in Florida are tried in front of a six member jury, not including any alternate jurors. Someone charged with a capital offense such as first degree murder which upon conviction has a possible death penalty, and then subsequently the penalty phase of the trial is eligible to have a twelve person jury exclusive of jury alternates. Relinquishing this right is allowable. In this nature of situation, The Supreme Court has held that the least amount of jurors to be permitted is six.

The right to a trial by jury is assured in Federal Court by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This relates to serious offenses, which are defined as those that carry a potential penalty of more than six months of incarceration as disparate to petty crimes which are interpreted as a crime which holds a punishment of less than six months in jail. In the case of a serious crime a jury trial is necessary if the defendant so requests. In the instance of the less serious crime the defendant is not entitled to a jury trial.

A skilled trial lawyer will be aware of what challenges may be made to the "array" of jurors thus insuring the defendant's right to a fair trial. Certain complex cases involve the use of jury questionnaires and pre-trial excusal of jurors based upon their written responses. During the voir dire procedure skilled defense counsel should raise the constitutional issue of whether a potential juror can lay aside his or her opinion and render a fair verdict based upon the evidence presented in court.

Jury Trials In The State Of Florida, continued

The Criminal Law Process

When you need an experienced and committed defense lawyer you can trust in Southern Florida, contact the criminal defense law firm of Michael B. Cohen, P.A. online or call 954-928-0059 or 561-366-8200.