JURY - CASE DIFFERENCES

A civil case for which a jury is involved is generally a dispute between two or more parties that does not involve a criminal matter. In a civil matter, in order for a plaintiff to win a case, it is only necessary for the plaintiff to prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence.

In a criminal matter, the defendant has a right to a trial by jury. The defendant is also constitutionally entitled to be presumed innocent of the charges until the jury finds otherwise. More proof is required to find a person guilty of a crime than to return a verdict for a plaintiff in a civil case. In order to return a verdict of guilty in a criminal trial, the charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

In both a civil and criminal case, the judge instructs jurors on the standards to be applied in the case. In most civil cases, eight jurors sit to hear a matter. In all criminal cases, eight jurors are impaneled. To accommodate situations in which additional jurors may be needed, such as if a juror needs to be excused after the trial has begun, more than the required number of jurors are initially selected in both civil and criminal trials. These individuals serve as alternate jurors. They do not participate indeliberations but may be asked to remain at the courthouse until deliberations are completed. Those selected as alternate jurors perform a valuable function by participating at trial and being available to replace excused jurors, if necessary. In a civil trial, two thirds are needed to return a verdict in favor of one party or the other. In a criminal case the verdict must be unanimous.

For more information please call the Jury Commissioner's Office at 614-645-7726

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