Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Foster vs. Chatman. In this case, the central issue to be determined is whether black jurors were improperly excluded due to their race. The Supreme Court has previously held in the case of Batson v. Kentucky that excluding jurors based on their race is unconstitutional. If we’re really serious about reforming the criminal justice system, all aspects of our system have be considered, and jury selection is an important part of the process.
In North Carolina, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, your trial occurs in District Court. Therefore, in addition to making decisions about evidence and other criminal procedure issues, the presiding judge also serves as the jury and renders a verdict. If a defendant is found guilty in District Court, the defendant may then appeal that decision within ten (10) days to Superior Court. In Superior Court, the misdemeanor appeal result in a trial in front of a jury who will then have the duty of rendering a verdict. If a defendant in North Carolina is charged with a felony, that trial will always take place in Superior Court, and once again with the option of having a jury trial.
Being charged with a crime is a serious matter, and if you go to trial, jury selection is an important part of that process. If you are charged with a crime in North Carolina, call our office at (336) 725-6559 for a free consultation with an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney to discuss all of your rights and options with respect to your case.