March 29, 2023 By Stephen Klarich

What Do California Juries Look for to Determine Guilt in Sex Crimes?

Although criminal defendants are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, sex crime cases can be particularly difficult for jury trials. Sex crime cases can bring up jurors’ own experiences, beliefs, and biases that all affect how they may vote regarding the defendant’s guilt or innocence. As such, if you have been accused of a sex crime, it is important to obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney to convince the jury of your innocence. 

What Do Jurors Consider in Sex Crime Cases? 

Jurors may consider a variety of factors when deciding a sex crime case, including physical evidence and witness testimony. However, physical evidence and witnesses are not always present in sex crime cases. In these cases, jurors may look to a number of other factors to determine the guilt of the defendant. According to research, these considerations include: 

  • Relationship between parties: If the defendant and alleged victim had a close relationship, there is a higher likelihood that the severity of the sex crime will be minimized and more responsibility will be attributed to the victim. 
  • Prior sexual relationship: If the defendant and alleged victim had a prior sexual relationship, the victim is more likely to be perceived as less credible and more likely to have consented. 
  • Marriage status: If the defendant and alleged victim were married, the defendant is more likely to be perceived as innocent than if the parties were acquaintances or strangers. 
  • Intoxication: If the alleged victim was intoxicated, he/she is more likely to be viewed as blameworthy and less credible. 
  • Gender: Women tend to be more sympathetic toward victims and harsher toward defendants. 

Is There Juror Bias in Sex Crime Cases? 

Because sex crimes are seen by society as one of the worst types of crimes, jurors will often side with the victim of the crime based on emotion, testimony, and the crimes themselves. Especially in sex crime cases involving minors, victims are usually believed over the defendant because of the serious implications involved. Oftentimes, it is easier for the prosecution to convict a defendant when the affected minor testifies in front of the jury. This can make it difficult to properly defend against allegations because jurors may be prejudiced against those accused of a sex crime involving children. Similarly, in rape cases, research has shown that jurors will sometimes disregard evidence and decide the case based on their personal perceptions of the victim’s character and lifestyle. 

Preventing Juror Bias 

Due to the potential for bias in sex crime cases, you should ensure that you have a skilled criminal defense attorney experienced in the voir dire process. During the voir dire process, defense lawyers ask potential jurors questions in order to uncover any hidden biases and attempt to exclude as many of these jurors as possible. By filtering out as many of these individuals as possible, your attorney can provide you with a fairer trial. In some cases, however, you may be able to file for an appeal due to juror bias. Grounds for such an appeal include hidden agendas or judicial mistakes. If your appeal is granted, you will be eligible for a new trial with a new jury, or your sentence may even be reversed. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you or your loved one was unfairly sentenced as a result of a biased jury, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. At Wallin & Klarich, we seek to protect your rights and prove your innocence. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of sex crime cases, and we have the skills and resources to help you avoid hefty fines and jail time. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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