Regardless of what you think about Harvey Weinstein and the accusations against him, our Constitution guarantees him the right to a fair trial. A fair trial includes an unbiased and impartial jury. That means you are entitled to jurors who are not going to hold their personal experiences or beliefs against you.
Yet jury selection in the Weinstein case has been a complete circus, culminating in the seating of a juror who will likely be the key to his freedom due to lying about potential bias against the accused.
As I’m sure you know, Weinstein is on trial in New York City for rape. He has been charged with “predatory sexual assault.” Remember this phrase as you read on.
Due to Weinstein’s notoriety, each prospective juror completed a questionnaire in advance of arriving for jury selection. The purpose of a jury questionnaire is to give the parties some advance information about a perspective juror. It also helps identify jurors who may not be a good fit for a particular case. For example, a juror who identifies a bias, or perhaps was a victim of the same crimes with which the defendant is charged, would not necessarily be a fair and impartial juror.