Alfred Fargione

Jury trials are only guaranteed in some cases

People who are facing criminal charges will sometimes opt to have their case heard by a jury. Understanding the purpose of the jury and the scope of their duties can help you to decide if you want to go this route with your case.

The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution stipulates that anyone who is facing at least six months of imprisonment is entitled to a jury trial. It is possible for defendants to waive this right, which is what happens if they choose to enter into a plea bargain.

One misunderstanding that some people have has to do with the phrase "jury of peers." This phrase doesn't mean that jurors are going to be exactly like you. Instead, they should represent the community as a whole. There might be a mix of races, genders, income levels and educations.

A jury trial is meant to prevent the prosecutors from having unchecked power. Having to present their case to a jury might make prosecutors think twice about some cases, such as those in which the evidence isn't clear and convincing.

The jurors have to listen to both sides of the case and make a determination about whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. In order to do this, they might have some legal concepts explained to them, and they must follow the court's instructions during deliberation.

If a jury returns a guilty verdict, the case will then move to the sentencing phase. There are specific guidelines that judges use to determine the defendant's sentence. For some defense strategies, focusing on trying to minimize the penalties is the entire focus.

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Alfred Fargione
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Athens, Georgia 30605

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