Understanding How Jurors are Selected in California

In California, there are two types of juries: a grand jury and petit jury. Both juries have jurors selected to serve on a particular case. For instance, a petit jury hears civil or criminal cases and decide if the plaintiff or defendant should win. A grand jury is a secret jury that finds whether there is probable cause for a person to be charged with a crime. The person suspected of a crime can’t have their attorney argue against finding probable cause. No defense attorneys are allowed in a grand jury case.

What is the Qualifications for a Juror in California?

Jury selection Los Angeles CA, begins with meeting specific qualifications. A person must meet the following criteria to be a juror in California:

•Live in California.
•Be a U.S. citizen.
•Be at least 18 years old.
•Understand the English language to discuss the case.
•Not under conservatorship (This means someone makes decisions for the person because they can’t do it themselves.)
•Not current serving as a trial juror or grand juror
•Live in Los Angeles County.
•Have civil rights restored if convicted of malfeasance in public office or a felony

Individuals who don’t meet the qualifications will need to complete the Disqualification Section on the reverse side of the Summons for Jury Service. This means they aren’t eligible to sit on a jury. They must mail the Summons back to the court in the enclosed return envelope.

Potential Jurors are Selected Via a Series of Steps

A juror in Los Angeles isn’t just picked, they are selected during a series of steps. For instance, a potential juror is questioned after being randomly selected. This is the venire part of the selection and occurs in the courtroom. The presiding judge will ask potential jurors questions to determine if they are legally qualified to serve. They also determine if serving on a jury would cause hardship.

Once the presiding judge determines narrows the pool of potential jurors, the prosecutor and defense attorney make their selection. They can remove a juror because they are unfit or not qualified to be a juror on the case. This is called removing a juror for cause. A prosecutor or defense attorney can also remove a potential juror for no reason. This is called a peremptory challenge. During this phase of the jury selection, they are looking for jurors favorable to their side of the case. For example, a defense attorney will look for potential jurors who may be sympathetic to their client.

A Jury is Complete After the Prosecution and Defense Fight to Get or Remove Certain Jurors

The process of striking a juror occurs when a prosecutor or defense attorney argues against having a certain juror on the panel. For instance, if a defense attorney wants a certain juror, the prosecutor may challenge. This requires the presiding judge to listen to the prosecutor’s argument. If they agree, the juror is removed. If they don’t agree, the juror stays. Once the jury is empaneled, the case begins.