The Strategy of Jury Trial
Not all attorneys try cases to a jury. It is a specialized skill. At Duncan & Hill, we truly enjoy trying cases to an Oklahoma jury. Some of our main areas of practice include Oklahoma County, Cleveland County, Canadian and McClain Counties. If you may want a jury trial, you should specifically inquire into whether the attorney you’re considering is experienced in them. Jury trials require ample preparation time and are not for the faint of heart. When going before a jury on a criminal case, oftentimes our clients are faced with the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in prison. For this reason, when Duncan & Hill agrees to take on a trial- we don’t take it lightly. We know, that everything weighs in the balance and we commit ourselves and our focus to you like we would want an attorney to do for us, or our family member if the situation was reversed.What does Jury Trial Entail?
Considering how few cases actually go to trial, many clients lose touch with the fact that it is the backbone of our United States criminal justice system and the most important right afforded to each and every defendant. Whether you or your loved-one’s case is a misdemeanor possession of drugs, or a murder in the first degree- every client is entitled to a jury trial by their peers. A misdemeanor jury is composed of 6 jurors, while a felony jury is comprised of 12 jurors. There are many rights imbedded within the right of the jury trial—but one important one is that a person cannot be convicted of any crime unless all of the jurors agree with the verdict and a unanimous decision is made. If 11 of the 12 jurors want to vote for a conviction, but one juror disagrees- then the conviction is not achieved but rather results in a “hung jury.” When a jury hangs, the prosecutor can elect to either dismiss the case outright, or retry the case with a new jury. A jury that unanimously votes “not guilty” result of course result in an acquittal of our client. A client may be entirely acquitted of their case no matter how serious the charges pending against them.When do I have to Decide if I Want a Jury Trial?
Sometimes, clients won’t realize they want—or need—a jury trial until late in the case. Much pre-trial work is done before a trial, including conferencing with the State, Preliminary Hearing, District Court Arraignment, Pre-trial Conferencing and so forth. It is not unusual for us at Duncan & Hill Law to get a call for a trial from an Oklahoma County client with a criminal case whose case has been pending for a year. Clients often assume that their case will get better with time, or the offer will drastically change from a prison offer to probation—which is not always the story. The “offer” on a case, or the plea deal that the prosecutor is willing to offer is not guaranteed to better with age. When a trial is finally set—it’s time to buckle down and prepare for the case to be heard by a jury. We prefer to have as much time as possible to prepare the trial.What is Trial Prep?
An excellent trial attorney will intensely prepare his or her trial before it ever reaches the ears of the jury. The most important piece of trial preparation is figuring out how to put forward the truth of the case, to ensure the jurors get a full understanding of the entire story—not just what the government’s witnesses will testify to. At Duncan & Hill Law Firm we work with local Oklahoma City investigators to find witnesses, discover what their testimony at trial will be, and serve them with subpoenas. Finding witnesses is only the first step. We must then keep in contact.