Baytown, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: When the defendant does not have enough jurors to select a jury, what is that called and then what happens next?

OTHER ADDITIONAL DETAIL: The prosecutor used his last two strikes on the last two remaining jurors.

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1 Lawyer Answer

Kiele Linroth Pace

  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: It is called a busted panel and the case gets reset and they try again.

A prosecutor can get rid of a criminal case any time she feels like it, by making an offer so good that the defendant is likely to accept and, if that doesn't work, by simply dismissing the case. If the judge refuses to sign the dismissal then the prosecutor can rest her case without putting on any evidence.

So it is curious that the prosecutor is the one that busted the panel... since they have other ways of getting out of a trial. Maybe the prosecutor still thinks she could win, just not with that particular jury panel for some reason. Or maybe a key prosecution witness was absent but the judge denied the state's motion for continuance and forced them to trial anyway.

It isn't Double Jeopardy because Jeopardy doesn't attached until the jury is empaneled. However, it would be a good idea to keep up negotiations with the state because, after a mess like that, they might be in a mood to resolve it favorably for the defendant before the next trial date.

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