Top 10 things to know about jurors in court, how are you?

Overall, when you don’t work in the justice sector, you are relatively left behind on the subjects that encompass it. Today we decided to clear some of this enigmatic terrain by tackling something that can concern us all: that of jurors. Who are these people ? Do they have a lunch break? Can they eat popcorn in court? Why out of three questions there are two that talk about food? You will have some answers to all of this in this top, and for others you will have to dive deep into your soul to find them.

1. What is a jury?

A jury is simply all the jurors. Jurors are citizens like you and me, but mostly like you, because I’m weird. These people must follow a trial and render a verdict at the end of it, so it is a very important role in a legal case.

2. Who can be a juror?

To be a juror you must be present on the electoral lists, be over 23 years old, know how to read and write French and be of French nationality. It’s a bit elitist but if you look closely it already includes a lot of people.

3. How do you become a juror?

You become a juror by drawing lots, which means that if you meet all the conditions mentioned above you can be a juror. However, there are several things that can make you automatically eliminated: having been convicted of a crime or misdemeanour, being a person protected by law or being a public official who has been dismissed (this means that you have made a bullshit if you are there).

4. Can we refuse to be a juror if we have been drawn?

No. NOT AT ALL. In fact it is part of your duties as citizens and if you have been selected, there are very few reasons why you can clear customs, it must be an extremely important or serious reason. Like you are dead for example. If you decide not to show up in court after being drawn, you could be fined €3,750, so don’t mess around.

5. Do you have to learn anything to be a juror?

Yes, before the trial you will do some homework. You will follow a short training course during which a general counsel and a president of the court will explain to you all the subtleties of this work to come. We can offer you to visit a prison and we also show you an explanatory film. In case you were wondering, this movie is not Love Actually.

6. Are there any obligations that go with the role?

As a juror you obviously have obligations: you must follow the trial carefully and not be playing candy Crushyou must keep what you hear in court secret and not divulge anything even after the trial and you must remain objective about the case and not be prejudiced about the accused.

7. Do we get paid?

No. You do not receive any salary in your role as a juror. However, you can receive several compensatory allowances: for your meals if you have to eat on the spot, for your travels if you live far away and for your accommodation if you have to sleep near the court. You can also receive salary compensation if your employer counts your jury duty as an absence. You can receive an appearance allowance of €92.80 per day which can even be added to your salary, the jackpot.

8. What is the role of the juror?

Basically you have to be present during the trial, follow the case, listen, take notes and then deliberate with the other jurors. There is a first vote to decide whether the accused is guilty or not, and if he is found guilty, there is a second vote to choose his sentence. The juror must be impartial and maintain objectivity throughout the case and deliberation.

9. How long does it last?

That’s a bit like roulette, it lasts as long as the trial will last and some trials can last for a long time. While most cases are completed in less than a day, you may find yourself assigned to a much more complex and longer case and not even have certainty about the duration, but this is rare.

10. How is the deliberation going?

To carry out the deliberation, the jurors meet with the Assize Court in a room provided for this purpose. There is an anonymous vote with secret ballots to decide the guilt of the accused. Knowing that there are at least six jurors, seven votes are needed for a decision unfavorable to the accused to be accepted. If he is found not guilty it stops there, otherwise there is the second vote to define the sentence and the jurors vote again.

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