You have a constitutional right to a jury trial. If you decide that you want to go to trial but do not want a jury, then a judge will determine the verdict. The process of selecting jurors is called “voir dire.” This takes place at the beginning of a trial, before opening statements and before the jury is sworn in.
During voir dire, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney will ask jurors questions in an effort to uncover biases. If an attorney wants to have a potential juror excused, he can use a “challenge.” A preemptory challenge allows an attorney to have a juror excused without stating a reason. In a challenge for cause, the attorney will have to explain to the judge the reason for wanting the juror excused. Both the defense and the prosecution are entitled to have a jury of 12 people. If both waive that right, then the jury could be as few as six jurors.
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