Your right to a fair trial by jury depends on having impartial jurors consider your case. A big part of the pretrial process for those facing criminal charges will involve selecting a jury.
Your lawyer and the prosecutor can ask prospective jury members questions about themselves and their personal experiences. The answer is that jurors give can help eliminate those with a serious bias.
Unfortunately, some jurors may misrepresent their circumstances in part because they want to have a say in your case. Can you potentially appeal your conviction if it turns out that a juror lied during the jury selection process?
Jurors with a provable bias can affect court outcomes
Typically, for a criminal defendant to have grounds for an appeal, they need compelling evidence that there was a mistake in the legal analysis or an unfair element in their trial. A juror with a significant bias might potentially give rise to an appeal.
Usually, what a juror says once seated for a trial will not give the defendant the right to appeal the verdict, but there are a few exceptions. The one that applies to a biased juror is when an outside influence affects how the jurors rule. Undisclosed personal relationships or history can lead to an unfair outside influence on the case and a jury that is not truly impartial.
If, for example, you can show that a juror who said they had never been a victim of violent crime during the jury selection process is actually an assault survivor, the misrepresentation of their circumstances could be grounds for your appeal. Someone with a personal relationship to your case or a personal or family experience that would bias them should absolutely disclose that information so that you receive a fair trial.
Appeals can help those who did not receive justice
A criminal conviction when you know you did not break the law can seem like a major failure of the United States justice system. However, the appellate system exists for exactly this purpose. Misconduct and mistakes in your criminal proceedings may even eventually give rise to a successful appeal and result in justice for you.
Understanding when you have grounds to pursue a criminal appeal can help you fight back after an unfair outcome in criminal court.