Jury trials are procedures in which the defendant and the government argue to a pool of individuals about whether the defendant committed a crime. That pool of individuals is the jury. Importantly, Wisconsin law requires that all 12 members of that jury in felony cases (sometimes 6 total jurors in a misdemeanor case) agree on a guilty or not guilty verdict. What happens when they don’t agree? Courts generally send an instruction back ordering the jurors to agree on a verdict. After a certain amount of time, if that does not occur, sometimes courts order mistrials. This does not result in a dismissal, and gives the government the opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to try the case again.
Jurors aren’t simply asked whether a crime occurred. Instead, crimes break down into separate parts, called elements. The government must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government does not satisfy that burden, the defendant cannot be found guilty of the crime.
At different points during trial, jury instructions are read to the jury. Jury instructions are basic instructions to guide the jury through the process. They includes instructions about evidence, instructions about objections, instructions about credibility, instructions about the elements of the crime, and many other topics. There are hundreds of different jury instructions. Whether each instruction is read in each trial depends on whether that instruction is relevant to the case.
Frequently after a jury trial loss, prosecutors no longer abide by their pre-trial plea offers, and instead try to achieve inflated, near-maximum penalties for defendants. This practice is dishonest and does not respect the principles espoused by the Constitution. Unfortunately, judges frequently do nothing to remedy this practice, and instead join the government in this practice. This all means that winning your jury trial is incredibly important.
At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., we’ve won cases for clients at jury trial. We’ve also successfully negotiated optimal resolutions for clients before trial. Either way, our criminal defense attorneys are in a great position to help you.
Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. if you’re seeking jury trial representation in your criminal case. You can reach our firm 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.