How Courts Work

Steps in a Trial

The Jury Pool

The trial jury in either a civil or criminal case is chosen from a list called a venire or jury pool that has been compiled by the court. The method of selecting names for the venire varies. In many states the list is compiled from voter registration lists or drivers license lists. (In some jurisdictions, the federal and state courts use the same lists for a given area.) The jury pool is sometimes compiled with the help of jury commissioners appointed by the presiding judge.

Most states require that a court official screen the list of potential jurors to eliminate people unqualified or ineligible under state law. Traditionally many people were exempted from jury duty because their jobs were considered so important to society that they couldn't be released from them for jury duty. These automatic exemptions and excuses are becoming less and less common. In many states they have been sharply cut back or completely eliminated.

>>Diagram of How a Case Moves Through the Courts
>>Civil and Criminal Cases
>>Settling Cases
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Civil Cases
>>Jurisdiction and Venue
>>Pleadings
>>Motions
>>Discovery
>>Pre-Trial Conferences
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Criminal Cases
>>Bringing the Charge
>>Arrest Procedures
>>Pre-Trial Court Appearances in Criminal Cases
>>Bail
>>Plea Bargaining
>>Civil and Criminal Trials
>>Officers of the Court
>>The Jury Pool
>>Selecting the Jury
>>Opening Statements
>>Evidence
>>Direct Examination
>>Cross-examination
>>Motion for Directed Verdict/Dismissal
>>Presentation of Evidence by the Defense
>>Rebuttal
>>Final Motions
>>Closing Arguments
>>Instructions to the Jury
>>Mistrials
>>Jury Deliberations
>>Verdict
>>Motions after Verdict
>>Judgment
>>Sentencing
>>Appeals


How Courts Work Home | Courts and Legal Procedure | *Steps in a Trial*
The Human Side of Being a Judge | Mediation

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