UNDERSTANDING TENNESSEE'S JURY SELECTION PROCESS

Juries are an important part of civil cases that go to trial. Because of this, Tennessee residents who wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit after a car crash may benefit from learning a little more about the jury selection process.

According to the American Bar Association, jury selection starts off with the creation of a venire. This list, which is also known as a jury pool, compiles the names of potential jurors. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, which draws from Anderson and over 40 other counties, explains that it collects juror names from voter registration records.

The ABA explains that a venire is narrowed down by bringing the potential jurors into court. At this point the lawyers and the judge will ask questions which probe into the potential jurors’ areas of knowledge, viewpoints and backgrounds. If an attorney does not believe a juror will be impartial, that attorney may request a “for cause” dismissal from the judge.

Lawyers are also provided a set number of peremptory challenges, which can be used to dismiss jurors for any reason. These challenges cannot, however, be used for discriminatory purposes, such as the exclusion of a juror due to the person’s sex or race.

The court clerk will swear in the jurors once the group is finalized. Trial jurors from Anderson County can serve for up to 15 days during a term of service that lasts three to four months. However, if a trial extends beyond this term, jurors will need to remain until its conclusion.

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