Jury Factors

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The justice system depends on each member of a jury being confidently able to express their personal opinion. For this reason, your jury selection process must uncover and eliminate any juror who seems unduly concerned with whether they will be judged and criticized by others.

A skilled interviewer will evaluate the personality qualities of potential jurors, seeking those who are straightforward and assertive, while avoiding those at both ends of the personality spectrum: an impartial juror cannot be fearful of being judged by others, and they also cannot be excessively dominating or socially overbearing.

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These days, the process of jury selection has been transformed by the prevalence of online conversations. This background-checking process involves looking deeper than simply searching for any comments about the actual case that is being tried. For example, a potential juror with very strong online statements related to gun control may not be able to be unbiased when seated on a jury for a gun-related crime. For better and for worse, the legal system and its occasionally dramatic moments make up a popular theme for mainstream entertainment.

As a result, some of your venire members may already feel that they know how the case should proceed legally. Personal bias results from numerous factors.

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You want your jurors to learn about the case during the course of the trial, not to come in feeling that they already know what happened. Having to work against the bias of press coverage is not optimal when presenting the facts in the courtroom. Designing relevant voir dire questions is a surprisingly complex art. You are seeking to uncover attitudes and biases that the potential juror may not even realize they hold. The process must create a sense of comfort in the potential juror so that they feel freely confident to explain their thoughts and experiences.

Furthermore, you must be constantly observing and evaluating non-verbal cues in their responses as well. You can use these tools to inform your voir dire interview. By Peter Hecht on October 24th, The jury selection process is an intriguing — and high stakes — venture into the subtle terrain of human nature. Blanton v.

City of North Las Vegas, U. Zucker, U. See also Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. Stranahan, U. Mendoza-Martinez, U. The statute at issue in Mendoza-Martinez automatically divested an American of citizenship for departing or remaining outside the United States to evade military service.

A later line of cases, beginning in , held that the Fourteenth Amendment broadly barred Congress from involuntarily expatriating any citizen who was born in the United States. Pennsylvania, U. Burnett, U. A Court plurality in Cheff v. Justices Harlan and Stewart dissented. As in other cases, the Court drew the line between serious and petty offenses at six months, but because, unlike other offenses, no maximum punishments are usually provided for contempts it indicated the actual penalty imposed should be looked to.

See also Dyke v. The distinction between criminal and civil contempt may be somewhat more elusive. International Union, UMW v. Bagwell, U. Wainwright, U. Virginia, U.

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Smith, U. McMillan v. Enhancement of sentences for repeat offenders is traditionally considered a part of sentencing, and a judge may find the existence of previous valid convictions even if the result is a significant increase in the maximum sentence available.

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Almendarez-Torres v. AlmendarezTorres was cited with approval on this point in James v. See also Parke v.

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Raley, U. For example, in Mathis v. United States , U. In so doing, the Court expressly overruled its earlier decisions in Spaziano v. Florida , U.

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Both of these decisions had been issued prior to Ring. In Southern Union Co. The maximum fine that could be imposed in Southern Union Co. A judge could depart from the applicable Guideline only upon finding in writing that an aggravating or mitigating factor was present that had not adequately been considered by the Commission. See Mistretta v. Relying on Mistretta v. Pepper v.

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Ice, U. The Court also noted other decisions judges make that are likely to evade the strictures of Apprendi , including determining the length of supervised release, attendance at drug rehabilitation programs, terms of community service, and imposition of fines and orders of restitution. United States, S. Several courts of appeals have also rejected a presumption of unreasonableness. However, a number of circuits adhere to the proposition that the strength of the justification needed to sustain an outside-Guidelines sentence varies in proportion to the degree of the variance.

Booker and its antecedents are based on the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury. What is at issue, instead, is the allocation of the authority to decide issues of substantive sentencing policy, an issue on which the Sixth Amendment says absolutely nothing.