All Posts

Posted in Law on July 19, 2022   |  by Gary Burger

Right to a Jury

The Seventh Amendment of the United States of the Constitution provides: “In suits at common law, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.” Jury service is an obligation of members of our community. To get the benefits of our amazing country and justice system, people who are nonfelons, over the age of 18 and registered to vote, are asked to serve on juries. Without jurors to perform this essential function, our justice system could not exist.

All jurors called for jury duty are certainly qualified, but a juror’s belief system may determine the type of case for which they are best suited: whether it is a criminal case, a contract dispute, employment discrimination or a personal injury case like auto accidents, medical malpractice or premises liability. People who cannot sit in judgment or convict a person of a crime should not sit on a jury. When criminal charges are brought against a person, and his or her liberty is at stake, a jury must find that person guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, when the controversy is civil in nature — a money dispute between two parties — the case must be proven by a preponderance of evidence. This means a party must prove their propositions are more likely than not, or by 51%.

Our firm has already picked three juries through a process called voir dire this year. Voir dire is an essential part of trying a case and enables a lawyer to talk directly with prospective jurors about their personal views and Missouri law on challenges for cause provides that “no person who has formed or expressed an opinion concerning the matter in controversy in any case that may influence the judgment of such person… shall be sworn as a juror in that case” (Mo.Rev.Stat. §494.470.1). Both the prosecutor or plaintiff and defendant in both civil and criminal cases ought to have a fair and impartial jury always. Justice requires this.

Thanks for reading and call us at (314) 500-HURT if you have any questions about your case.