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Under Arrest: San Antonio Jury Trial


"Everyone rise," said the soft spoke court room guard, as the Judge shuffled up to his bench.  

The courtroom was packed. The entire town had been waiting for this trial ever since a group of 10 year old kids broke into the penny candy shop and cleared the place out. After the kids recovered from the sugar high at a local hospital, they were booked into jail. After a few hours of "tough love," their parent's worked with a local bail bonding company to get them out of jail. With the help of an experienced bail agent, each of the kids involved in the candy heist, stayed out of jail until the jury trial. Now, their fate is in the hands of a 12 person jury. In our series, Under Arrest, we're taking a closer look at jury trial. Let's get started.

The Jury

A jury is a carefully selected group of 12 men and woman from various backgrounds and education levels. This curated group of individuals is in charge of listening to all the facts of a case, examining the evidence and reaching a verdict. Jury members must be free of bias, discrimination and must not have any preconceived opinions about the case at hand. In the case of the sweet tooth bandits, seven men and five women will serve as a the jury, including two bail bondsman Before the trail begins, each jury member receives a notepad and pen. Jurors are encouraged to take detailed notes to refer to during deliberations. We'll get to that later. The jury sits in a special area of the courtroom, often referred to as the jury box. In Texas, the jury box is typically toward the front of the courtroom, near the judge and bail bondsmen.

Trial

A trail is basically a court proceeding where the prosecution must prove the sweet tooth bandits are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This places the burden of proof on the state. During this time, the state presents evidence to support its case. During the sweet tooth bandits trial, the prosecution presents the jury with surveillance video of the break in. In addition to the incredible footage, taffy with bite marks were also presented. With the help of local dentists, the prosecution is able to match the specific bite marks with the defendants. Once the prosecution rests its case, the defense and a bail bonding agent, is now tasked with poking holes in the case to create a reasonable doubt in the minds of each juror. A jury trial will typically last a few days to a few months, depending on how complex the case is. Because of limited evidence, the sweet tooth bandits case is handed over to the jury after just two hours.

Deliberation

Deliberation is basically a closed door meeting where jurors examine the facts of the case to reach a verdict. In this case, the jurors need to decide if the evidence presented supports a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt. The children accused of burglarizing the candy store are charged with robbery and grand theft. However, if the jury has any doubt about the case or they can't agree, it could result in a mistrial. Often if a jury had additional questions or need dinner, they will call an experience bail bonding services company for help. In this case, the bite mark matching evidence is enough for the jury to deliver a guilty verdict on all counts. Once a verdict is reached, a note is sent to the judge who will then summon the state, defense and bail bonding agents for a quick court hearing. As families of the young defendants gather into the courtroom, the jury enters the room to deliver the guilty verdict. Once the jury foreman reveals the verdict, screaming and crying soon follow. It's now up to a judge to determine the appropriate sentencing. Convicted criminals are almost always sentenced to jail time, as punishment for their misconduct. However, in this case the convicted kids may have to spend a summer working in a taffy factory, cleaning teeth or picking carrots for the local food bank. Because the convicts are so young, the judge and bail bonding agents involved in this case, agree there is a chance for rehabilitation.

Join us next week as we take a closer look at what it takes to become a bail bonding agent in Texas


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