If you have a criminal accusation against you in Connecticut, you have the right to a jury trial. This right comes from the U.S. Constitution. You may choose between a bench trial, which is where a judge hears your case, or a jury trial, where a group of people from the community hears your case. In the bench trial, the judge makes the determination of guilt while in a jury trial, the jury makes that decision. If you choose a jury trial, the court must find people to sit on the jury.
According to the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, there are four places the court pulls from to put together a list of jurors for your trial. Anyone who pays state income taxes or receives unemployment make up two of the pools. Any person who registers to vote also joins a jury pool. The last pool comes from a list of people who have a driver’s license or state ID.
Keep in mind that the people in each of these pools must meet requirements and go through a selection process. In addition, if a person has his or her name pulled from a pool to serve on a jury, he or she may claim an exemption. This exemption means the person is no longer obligated to serve on the jury.
When the jury is chosen, they get instructions to help them as they listen to and make a decision in your case. However, the decision they make is their own. The judge does not assist them with the process. This information is for education and is not legal advice.