Jury trial | English homework help

Directions: The following assignment consist of two parts. Part I requires that you demonstrate your understanding of the jury process by answering comprehensive questions, be sure to write in complete sentences and provide scholarly supports to back any assertions made. Part II, requires that you examine two real life cases and create 7-10 jury selection questions for each case chosen. Your response should be placed on a word document and uploaded to Blackboard. 

Part I- Being on a Jury: Answer each of the questions below completely and thoroughly. It is important to write in a collegiate manner, so bring in scholarly sources to aid with your responses.  

  1. Who can, and is required by law, to do jury service?  Why is it important to our legal system for every person to take jury service seriously?
  2. The U.S. Constitution states in Article 3, Section 2 that “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed” and the 6th Amendment in the Bill of Rights states ” In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” Why is it important to our system of government to have a trial by a jury of citizens?  How does this protect us and our rights?
  3. Which step of the pre-trial phase of a criminal trial involved the defendant being notified of the charges against him/her?
  4. What is voir dire
  5. How does voir dire help achieve the Constitutional requirement of a fair and impartial jury? Why is it important to the workings of our judicial system to conduct voir dire and have an impartial jury?
  6.  What is the role of a juror in the courtroom? 
  7. In what way is jury service a right?  A duty? AND a privilege?
  8. Preventive detention is when?
  9. What are the steps required for a grand jury trial? 

Part II: You Be the Lawyer

Imagine you are a lawyer, either defense or prosecution, for ONLY two of the cases below.  What types of questions will you ask your potential jurors in the voir dire? What kinds of experiences, ideas, prejudices, or prior knowledge will make them good or bad jurors?  What can you ask to ensure that you have the most impartial group of jurors possible?  Would you ask different questions if you were the defense rather than the prosecution?  Why? 

TASK: Make a list of 7-10 questions (for each case) you the lawyer will ask the pool of potential jurors for the two cases you selected.  Write your questions from the perspective of either the defense or the prosecution.  Keep in mind the various characteristics or perspectives that may affect a juror’s bias or objectivity. The Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago has one such set of questions that may help you consider the variety of questions to be asked at www.crfc.org/americanjury/lessons/voir_dire/voir_dire3.html“Voir Dire: A Simulation, Voir Dire: Creating the Jury”

Case 1: People v. Kevorkian (1994) 447MICH.436,527 N.W. 2d714  (Michigan)

Dr. Jack Kevorkian is being charged with two counts of murder after two women with terminal illnesses came to him and asked him for help committing suicide.  He provided them with a device that could administer drugs and the women were successful in ending their own lives.

Case 2: Headwaters Forest Defense v. County of Humboldt (2000) 211F.3d1121 (9th Circuit, Federal)

9 environmental activists and an environmental group are suing Humboldt County police officers for use of excessive and unreasonable force. In the fall of 1997, environmental activists staged three nonviolent protests against the logging of ancient redwood trees in the Headwaters Forest along California’s northern coast. During each protest, two to seven protesters linked themselves together using self-releasing lockdown devices known as “black bears.” Although the protesters were not physically daunting and posed no immediate safety threat, the officers used pepper spray to arrest the protesters. Defendants videotaped each of the arrests. The videotapes revealed that the officers did not attempt to negotiate with the protesters before applying the pepper spray. Sometimes the officers used Q-tips to apply the pepper spray to the eyelids of the protesters; other times the officers simply sprayed the pepper spray directly into the faces of the protestors. This occurred multiple times during each protest. The videos demonstrated that the protesters were in tremendous pain from the pepper spray. To ease the pain, the officers sprayed water on the protesters; however, the video showed that this actually caused more pain for at least one of the protesters.  Summary from http://www.elawreview.org/summaries/constitutional_issues/headwaters_forest_defense_v_co.html

Case 3: Popov v. Hayashi (2002) S.F. Sup. Ct. CA (California)

Popov is suing Hayashi for conversion, injunctive reliefand constructive trust. (Conversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the personal property of another. There must be actual interference with the plaintiff’s dominion. Popov and Hayashi were sitting in the stands during a baseball game when Barry Bond’s record-winning homerun ball landed in Popov’s glove. Before he had full control of the ball, he was mobbed by a crowd and the ball went flying. It eventually ended up in the possession of Hayashi.  

Case 4: US v. Zacarias Moussaoui (2001) Federal

Zacaraias Moussaoui is being charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism.  The US government believes that Moussaoui was involved with the September 11th attacks.  While Moussaoui admits he is a member of al Qaeda and did intend to commit acts of terrorism, he and other high-ranking al Qaeda operatives claim he was not involved in the September 11th hijackings. Summary from 


Case 5: Eisel v. Board of Education of Montgomery County (1991) 597A.2d447 (Maryland)

The family of Nicole Eisel, 13, is suing the school counselors for negligence.  Nicole, who had an interest in death and self-destruction, told friends she intended to kill herself.  The friends reported this to guidance counselors who did not act on the information and Nicole was killed by another student in a murder-suicide.

Case 6: State v. Jason Harlan (NCSC Justice Case Files #2)

Jason Harlan is being accused of identity theft after allegedly sending an email to Maria Garcia posing as her bank and fraudulently obtained her personal information.  Mrs. Garcia’s bank account was then emptied and the computer transactions were traced back to a computer in Mr. Harlan’s home.

Case 7: US v. Megan Robbins (NCSC Justice Case Files #1)

Megan is being tried for copyright infringement.  A friend told Megan about downloading music from the Internet.  Megan downloaded numerous songs for free and her electronic transfers were detected.  Because the songs are copyrighted and Megan obtained them without payment, she is accused of stealing the music.

Case 8: Summers v. Tice, et al (1948) 33CAL.2d80,1992d1 (California)

Summers is accusing Tice and Simonson of negligence.  The three men went hunting together and Summers told the other two to remain in a line.  Summers moved ahead of the other two remaining in plain sight.  When a quail flew up between Summers and the other two men, the two men shot at the quail, in Summers direction.  Summers was hit in the face by both shots almost simultaneously.

Case 9: People v. O.J. Simpson (1995) (California)

O.J. Simpson, a former football star, is accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.  O.J. took police on a televised, low-speed chase through Los Angeles before turning himself in and pleading not guilty

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