An extension of How does one find a judge for highly publicized issues?

The answer to that question says that judges can adjudicate a case even if they had prior knowledge of the facts, and can be trusted to do so fairly because they are trained not to let their prior prejudices influence their rulings.

What if a highly-publicized trial is to be decided by jury instead - how would one find an unbiased jury?

Looking at Wikipedia's article on jury selection, it seems to say that both the prosecution and the defense can object to a jury member, and often they don't even have to give reasons; however they only have a certain number of possible challenges. In other words, if all the originally-selected jury members have heard of the event and possibly already formed an opinion, one is indeed stuck with biased jurors - which seems less than ideal.

  • Note that in some jurisdictions, it is also possible to challenge a juror for cause, meaning that because of their background, their history, or their beliefs, they are believed to be fundamentally unable to be unbiased in this particular matter. If the judge agrees and removes the juror for cause, this will not count against the limited number of challenges each side has. For example, a juror who was sexually abused by their foster parents in a case that involves custody of a foster child may be inherently biased against the foster system. Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 10:19
  • Forming an opinion based on media reports does not necessarily equate to bias when examining the actual evidence presented at trial.
    – user35069
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


Very painfully

Jury for Donald Trump’s Hush-Money Trial Takes Shape: An Oncology Nurse, a Software Engineer, a Teacher

You ask them if they can be fair and impartial. Jurors can self-select themselves out of running if they just say they cannot be unbiased/impartial. Then lawyers from both sides will question them about their political leanings and/or look for hidden biases. The latter includes combing through all publicly-available information about the juror. If there's any doubt the juror can be impartial, they are dismissed.

The process looks very selective, with < 10% of the original potential jurors ultimately being selected.

  • For the Alex Murdough trial ongoing they spent almost a full week to assemble their jury pool.
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 17 at 7:27
  • 1
    In high profile murder cases it isn't uncommon to have to call thousands of prospective jurors in order to fill of jury panel of twelve jurors and a couple of alternate jurors (who serve in case a juror, e.g., gets sick in the middle of a trial). My wife and I have each been on a prospective juror lists of more than a thousand people for cases like that within the past ten years and those cases were far less high profile than any of the Trump criminal cases.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 17 at 21:21
  • I was surprised that they managed to seat 7 jurors already in the first 2 days.
    – Barmar
    Commented Apr 17 at 23:53

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