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Virginia Robbery Jury Trials

When trying robbery offenses, the prosecution usually asks for jury trials, because juries tend to be harsher. While the harshness of the jury may depend on the facts of the case, it is important to work with an attorney that is skilled at handling robbery trials. A seasoned robbery attorney could examine the facts of your case and determine which defense strategies may appeal to the jury.

Voir Dire and the Jury Selection Process

Virginia actually has a unique jury selection process called voir dire. The voir dire process is interesting because it allows the attorneys to ask the jury questions directly in most jurisdictions, trying to find out if there are any jurors that are particularly biased and who would not be able to be fair and impartial, which is a standard.

Questions Asked During the Voire Dire Process

Questions that attorneys might ask during the voir dire process often have to do with the charge and the specific facts of the crime. Lawyers also ask about race and gender and any implicit biases that might go along with that.

Questions that different attorneys and prosecutors get to ask directly to the jurors to help choose the best jury for a particular case include:

  • Have you ever had a family member who is a victim of a crime?
  • Are you a police officer?
  • Do you have any inside knowledge of the system that would cause you to take a different view point than a fair and impartial one?

Why Ask These Questions

In Virginia robbery jury trials, prosecutors want jurors that will be a little harsher with a particular type of charge. Some attorneys want people that will be a little more lenient. On all accounts, everyone wants people who are not going to be racists and not going to be affected by it. Sometimes those people get in front of a jury and are unable to be fair and impartial.

Length of the Jury Selection Process

The length of the jury selection process depends on the position of the judges, their willingness to ask questions, and the complexity of the case. Some jury selections have gone all day and other jury selections have gone multiple days.

Typically, it should not take more than an hour and most judges will potentially cut if off, depending on the seriousness of the case. Attorneys have to pick and choose their questions carefully and not use that opportunity as a chance to kind of pitch themselves to the jury or explain the case to a jury.

Impact of Jury on Trial

A jury can impact a robbery trial significantly. Juries have a lot of power and can do what they want. They can find somebody guilty or not guilty based on the situations that are happening. Based on even how one person feels in the jury, they must be unanimous in the State of Virginia to order a defendant.

Virginia robbery jury trials do not allow for situations where some people might want one outcome and everyone else wants a completely different outcome. That is not something that is able to occur and still result in a conviction. The jury must have unity. Getting a diverse jury or even one person to agree with a defendant’s position is extremely important in this type of case. An experienced robbery attorney could attempt to secure a diverse jury during the voir dire process, in an effort to achieve the best possible outcome for the defendant.

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