When criminal defendants in New Mexico fully exercise their rights, the final result is usually going to trial. This can be risky in some cases, and it can be the best option in others. This is especially true when the evidence used by the prosecution is weak or borderline at best and there is a solid basis for establishing reasonable doubt. The problem is that those who could possibly sit on the jury are chosen from a potential jury pool that has been selected prior to trial.
The most important aspect of the American judicial system is the concept of basic fairness. However, even with the tools set in place to help this basic concept, it can still be difficult to find a jury of “peers” who are not biased in either direction with respect to the charge and the applied material evidence. Personal predispositions or followers of certain criminal cases can easily be prejudiced against a defendant in a criminal trial, and not just racial prejudice. Those accused could have difficulty finding a jury that is not biased towards a guilty verdict even on weak evidence presentation.
The selection process
The selection process begins with interviews of each potential juror by both the prosecution and the defense. Jurors actually are not selected, but rather rejected by either side based on suitability for the particular case. Prosecutors want convictions and defendants want acquittals, and the result rests in the hands of those selected. Criminal law attorneys as well as the prosecutors are given a set number of challenges.
One of the most fundamental functions of a criminal defense attorney is to ensure that their clients have a suitable jury to hear their presentation on behalf of their client. This assurance begins with interviewing all potential jurors with respect to bias in any form that may affect the final outcome of the case.