The impartiality of jurors and court officials aren’t likely to weigh heavy on your mind–until you find yourself accused of a crime. Once their decisions can shape your future, you want to know they’ll base those decisions on the facts of your case, not whispered discussions and personal assumptions.
Anyone who is standing trial will want to make sure that the jurors don’t fall sway to undue influence, and there are rules to protect you. During the corruption trial of Richardson, Texas’s former mayor, one juror’s private conversations about her reservations and duties may have compromised the trial. Now the accused politician will now get a second chance to present her case and receive a fair trial.
Rules for juror conduct
United States citizens have the right to trial before a jury of their peers. These jurors have a duty to offer fair and impartial judgment on the facts of the trial, and to ensure their impartiality, the courts demand they follow certain guidelines.
In Texas, jurors must follow ten different rules throughout their service, including:
- Avoid mingling with or talking to anyone else involved in the case.
- Don’t offer gifts or favors to anyone involved in the case, and don’t accept gifts or favors.
- Don’t discuss the details of the case with anyone outside of the case until its completion.
- No personal investigations.
- Don’t look for legal clarification from books, the internet or other sources not presented in court.
Any violation of these rules could potentially result in a procedural violation for Jury Misconduct, because no one wants to go to jail after one or more jurors ignored their duty.
Protecting your rights is protecting your future
Your rights are the basic building blocks of freedom and deserve protection at all costs. This is why jury bias rules exist and why defense attorneys fight so hard to protect their clients every single day.