- General information
- Legal requirements to become a jury member
- Being excused from Jury service
- Which cases does the jury try?
- The jury selection process
- The trial process
1. General information
Jury trial has been established in Spain in 1995 to try some criminal matters.
The jury is composed of nine members and one presiding judge. Jurors are compensated.
It is mandatory to perform this public duty. Jurors are excused from their job for jury service.
2. Legal requirements to become a Jury member
To become a jury member you must:
- Be Spanish national older than 18.
- Have ability to read and write.
- Have political rights.
- Be registered in any of the town districts of the province where the crime was committed.
- Have physical and mental capacity to perform the duty.
Convicted for felonies, individuals detained and provisional confined persons cannot perform this public duty.
3. Being excused from Jury service
Some people are excused from jury service, they must meet any of the following requirements:
- Be older than 65 years.
- Having performed this juror duty within the last 4 years.
- Living abroad.
- Performing professional militar services.
- For family reasons: when becoming juror causes deep troubles on account of family charges.
- Performing an important job of general interest. when his substitution could make that important damages arise.
4. Which cases does the Jury try?
In Spain, only the following crimes can be tried before a Jury:
- Those crimes committed by civil servants while performing their public duties.
- Crimes against the environment.
- Offences against the person: murder, parricide…
- Embezzlement of public funds
These crimes will not be tried before the Jury where the National Audience shall do it.
5. The Jury selection proccess
A list of candidates for jury service is issued every two years. Every candidate shall be duly notified of it. The prospective jurors may apply to be excluded from this list within the first 15 days of November.
All persons included in the list of candidates may be called to take part of a court from the 1st of January of next year.
30 days before the hearing, final candidates will be drawn by lottery. Then they will be informed about their rights and duties to serve as juror. Here again they could allege to be excluded from jury service.
6. The trial process
The Jury tries only specific crimes, regardless the punishment attached to them.
The defendant must be assisted by a Lawyer.
A group of 20 prospective jurors are picked to constitute the «panel». From this group, only 9 members and 2 substitutes will be selected for the trial. The parties may reject any of the selected members.
The judge will hear the opening statements from each side. The Spanish Public Prosecutor and the Lawyer for the plaintiff will present their case, as well as those arguments related to it. The Lawyer for the defendantmay ask the case to be filed.
Jurors will be fined, should they not appear before court when they were required.
Evidence shall be reviewed by the jurors.
The jurors shall deliberate secretly. None of the jury members may abstain from voting.
The jury will simply declare guilt or innocence and the judge will then pass sentence.
The sentence may be appealed before the Regional High Court. If the litigant is dissatisfied with the court judgment that the Regional High Court decide, it may be appealed before the Supreme Court.
These are only general guidelines and not definitive statements of the law, all questions about the law’s applications to individual cases shall be directed to a Spanish lawyer.