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.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer

Kiele Linroth Pace

Answered
  • 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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.