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When the instructions that a judge will give the jurors is as a defendant is presumed innocent of the crime charged, and that presumption continues unless after consideration of all the evidence, the jury is convinced of the defendant’s guilt beyond there is mold out. The state has the burden of presenting evidence that establishes guilt beyond original doubt. The defendant must be found not guilty was the state has produced evidence which commences the jury beyond a reasonable doubt of each element of the crime. Therefore a judge will asked whether a prospective juror will presume the defendant in this unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, said Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale.
Yet another instruction that the judge will give to jurors is that if they find the defendant guilty, then they will have a duty to assess punishment. The judge will then explain the punishment for the crime in terms of how long the person would have to spend in prison or whether or not there is a fine. A potential juror must have the ability to assess punishment in accordance with the law. However there cannot be any discussion of the possible range of punishment and then after former conviction case until the jury has reached the second stage of trial if they find the defendant guilty.
There is a separate question and instruction that a judge must give to a potential juror where the death penalty is sought for first-degree murder. In this instance of the jury finds beyond original doubt that the defendant is guilty of murder in the 1st°, the jury will then have the duty to assess punishment. The punishment for murder in the 1st° is death, and life in prison without parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole.
The jury cannot consider imposing the death penalty unless it finds that one or more aggravating circumstances exist beyond original doubt. Aggravating circumstances are circumstances which increase the defendant’s guilt or punishment for the offense. A jury may also not consider imposing the death penalty unless they unanimously find that the aggravating circumstances are such that they outweigh any mitigating circumstances which may be present.
Mitigating circumstances are: 1) circumstances that may heighten or reduce the degree of moral plane; or 2) circumstances which in fairness, sympathy or mercy may lead the jury individually or together to decide against imposing the death penalty. Even if the jury finds that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances, it may impose a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole or life in prison without the possibility of parole. If the jury finds the defendant guilty of first-degree murder, it can consider all three of the potential punishments.
If a potential juror could not impose the death penalty or some type of life in prison, then the judge will ask a follow-up question. That question will be whether that potential juror’s reservation about the penalty is so strong that regardless of the law and the facts of the case that juror would not be able to impose the death or life in prison penalty. An additional question is whether a potential juror will automatically impose the death penalty if the jury finds the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of murder in the 1st°.
The US Supreme Court is held that the death penalty cannot be carried out if it was imposed by jury from which jurors had been excluded because they foist a general objection to the death penalty or had a conscientious or religious composition to it. A Germany check is challenged for caused however if the jurors views on capital punishment would prevent or substantially impair the performance of his duties as a juror in accordance with the instructions and his oath. On the other hand, jurors should not be excused for cause because he or she disagrees with the death penalty. Neither should that juror be excused for cause if imposing the death penalty would do something to violate the juror’s conscious. Judges concern should be whether or not each member will consider the imposition of the death penalty if the case is appropriate for that punishment.
In addition to be willing to consider the death penalty, a juror must also be willing to consider life without parole and life with the possibility of parole. The US Supreme Court has held that a judge’s refusal to ask whether the potential juror would automatically impose the death penalty upon conviction was a violation of due process of law, according to Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale. In one case, the Oakland Court of Criminal Appeals sent a case back to the trial court for resentencing because the trial court did not allow defense counsel to ask whether any juror would automatically impose the death penalty.
As a further question, the judge will ask the jury pool whether any of them know of any reason why they cannot be in a fair and impartial juror. Lastly, the court will ask each of the potential jurors to give their name, spouse’s name, whether or not they are married, their occupation, their spouse’s occupation, and the number of children that they have. However, jurors should not be asked to give their complete residential address or telephone number in the presence of the defendant.
The judge is not the only person who gets to ask questions of potential jurors. After the judges asked questions, the attorneys for the prosecution and the defendant will ask questions. The questions are not designed to pry into perspective jurors personal affairs. Instead they are to discover whether a potential juror has any information or opinions concerning the case which that person cannot lay aside further it is to determine whether or not personal experiences in that potential jurors life because him or her to favor or disfavor this state or the defendant or persons who may be called as witnesses. The questions are also asked to determine a potential juror’s attitude on social, religious and moral issues. These questions are needed to assure that the state and the defendant have an impartial jury. The prosecutor gets to ask these questions first, generally speaking, the attorneys will ask the potential jurors questions as a group, however, they may also ask questions of each prospective juror.