Jury selection is very important to the outcome of a court case. It's a defense lawyer's job to choose jury members who are most likely to sympathize with the defendant and least likely to assume the defendant is guilty.

Defense lawyers need to be strategic when selecting jury members and avoid coming to a decision about a particular potential juror without going through the appropriate steps. The following are five things a criminal defense lawyer needs to do before selecting a juror.

1. Create a target for the perfect juror

The number one thing the defendant's lawyer needs to do before jury selection is decide what the characteristics of the ideal juror will be for the case.

Factors to consider when determining who the ideal jury member will include age, education level, profession, sex, and health. The defense lawyer needs to decide which demographics will be least likely to develop a negative impression of the defendant. 

Once a defense lawyer has a target jurist in mind, he or she can compare each of the jury candidates to this ideal target jurist. 

2. Think about what the prosecution side is looking for

In addition to deciding on how the target juror should be, the defense lawyer should also think about what types of candidates the prosecutor is going to be looking for. The defense lawyer can then do everything possible to get these candidates out of the pool whenever possible. 

3. Avoid wasting jurors

A lot of defense lawyers pass over jury candidates without enough thought early on and end up with candidates who are less than ideal.

Jury selection is a bit like a chess match for a defense lawyer. The lawyer needs to anticipate the prosecution attorney's moves and deliberate carefully about each decision. 

4. Size up the juror's appearance

Juror candidate appearances can say a lot about what kind of juror that candidate will be. Things like clothing, ethnic background, and mannerisms can all provide some insights into who the candidate is and what their worldview is likely to be. 

5. Listen carefully to the juror's words

Of course, the things the juror says about himself or herself are the most important considerations to take into account.

During jury selection, the defense lawyer needs to learn as much as possible about each candidate. It's important to ask candidates questions and get some basic information on the candidate's job responsibilities, background, and opinions before deciding.