Jacobs v. Texas

At his trial for the sexual assault of a minor, appellant Joshua Jacobs sought to ask during jury selection whether a potential juror whether, if they knew that he had previously been convicted of a “sexual offense,” they could remain impartial in a second (the underlying case) case. The trial judge wanted Jacobs to use the phrase “felony offense,” but agreed, on Jacobs’s request, to let him refer to prior “assaultive offenses” instead. The court of appeals held that, in so limiting Jacobs, the trial judge offended his constitutional rights. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed, holding the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in determining that any marginal benefit Jacobs might gain by these added details would be outweighed by the risk of exposing the jury to the particular facts of the case before they were sworn. “Under these circumstances, we cannot say that the trial judge’s limitation “render[ed] the defendant’s trial fundamentally unfair.” View "Jacobs v. Texas" on Justia Law