How do I fake the funk and come off as a totally biased, incompetent human being unable to make an intelligent decision when it comes to a trial?
You as a lawyer will probably feel most out of your element during jury selection. A national survey of lawyers conducted a few years ago asked,1 "What are your most and least favorite parts of trial?" Lawyers said jury selection was the least favorite. The survey report probably is accurate in saying lawyers dislike jury selection. Prospecive jurors like it less they get instrictions from courts like:If your name is selected, during your term of service, then you will receive a Summons to Appear for Jury Service approximately two to three weeks prior to the date you are expected to appear. This summons will provide you with specific reporting instructions, i.e., date, time, and place.
In some jurisdictions, a short jury questionnaire is sent out to prospective jurors with the request that they answer the questions and return the form to the court. Acctual responses like this are not uncomon
Lawyers dislike jury selection
Lawyer will probably feel most out of your element during jury selection. A national survey of lawyers conducted a few years ago asked,1 "What are your most and least favorite parts of trial?" Lawyers said jury selection was the least favorite. The survey report probably is accurate in saying lawyers dislike jury selection. Prospective jurors like it less they get instructions from courts like: If your name is selected, during your term of service, then you will receive a Summons to Appear for Jury Service approximately two to three weeks prior to the date you are expected to appear. This summons will provide you with specific reporting instructions, i.e., date, time, and place.
In some jurisdictions, a short jury questionnaire is sent out to prospective jurors with the request that they answer the questions and return the form to the court. Actual responses like this are not uncommon
Obtain information about jurors' attitudes and opinions without offending
voir dire goals in mind:
1. To obtain information about jurors' attitudes and opinions without offending any
2. To introduce your client and case facts and show they match jurors' attitudes; and
3. To establish credibility, fairness and rapport with the jurors - the jurors are picking
their lawyer while the lawyers are picking their jurors.
Detailed jury questionnaire based on a poll
The most valuable information to use in picking a jury is a private poll matched with a
detailed jury questionnaire based on the poll. You can do this kind of study If your client has
the money, you can gain a significant edge. Most clients do not, or are unwilling to part with it. juror attitudes are considerably better predictors of verdicts than background
information. The jurors who felt plaintiffs generally receive 'too
much money' tended to find for the defendant while most of those who responded that plaintiffs
generally 'receive too little' later found for the plaintiff.
intensive questioning of potential jurors looks not just for inherent bias but for a potential to be emotionally swayed. On the other hand, proponents argue that this method gives both sides more confidence in the verdict. Currently, the more generic jury consulting or jury research is increasingly more common as attorneys trying high-stakes cases demand assistance through all parts of the trial process.
Attitudes come out in more detail as you question why jurors think the way they do.
Extroversion. Extroverts are outgoing, fun-loving, sociable. Introverts are reserved,
quiet, sensitive, and slow to engage with others.
Agreeableness. Some people are agreeable, trusting, cooperative. Others are suspicious,
Emotional stability. Some people are slow to rile, stable and calm. Others worry, are
insecure, and tense.
Conscientiousness. Some people are disciplined, organized, structured. Others pay little
attention to detail, are spontaneous, impulsive.
Open-mindedness. Some people are open-minded, creative, independent, and enjoy new
experiences. Others are opinionated, conforming, and have little tolerance of those who differ.
Information about age, politics, prior jury
You can't select jurors, only "deselect" a couple. Who are the most likely leaders? Who
are the outgoing, confident ones? Which ones are well spoken and sure of themselves? Who hashigher social standing, relevant knowledge, establishes good relationships? Who may be a strong willed holdout?
Obtaining information to rid the jury of those potential jurors
1. Keep it simple.
2. Let the judge know ahead of time in pre-trial meetings and trial brief
3. Make it easy for the judge. (Have copies made, the pens available, clip boards).
4. Get consent form your adversary and include the adversary in questions
5. Select your test case wisely, and then use it over and over.
6. Get time to review the questionnaire before the actual voir dire.
7. Request that the judge allow lawyer voir dire to the jury questionnaire.1. Too long and too complex.
8. Not enough time to review before jury pool brought to court room.
9. You can't observe the potential juror and the questionnaire at the same time.
10 Tougher to digest information from a piece of paper than by listening and watching juror.
10. Judge substitutes his normal voir dire with the questionnaire and does no further inquiry.
From the minute you stand up and introduce yourself to the jury panel in voir dire, you are "on stage" and the judging has begun
Engage in conversation with each juror, find a common bond with each juror; use humor; assert your leadership; make a personal, pact with your jurors. Following these guidelines will set the stage in the beginning of the trial for positive results in the end.Perhaps the most indelible observation is that jurors really do take their obligation seriously. Almost Every juror intervewed after a trial says they tried to do what was right and what was fair. Although some may not have originally wanted to participate, once appointed they accepted their role and performed conscientiously.understanding this gives lawyers a much deeper appreciation for their service, sacrifice, and most importantly, helps get better verdicts.
What are you looking for?
When you pick a jury you are looking for experts, leaders and folwers and a deateled questiner can help you find this out. jurors defer to other jurors' experience and knowledge. If your trial is about lawn mowers and one juror repairs lawn mowers at the hardware store, you're unlikely to win without his support. If your trial is about safety in a restaurant and one juror owns a restaurant, you're unlikely to win without her support. jurors with supervisory experience as well as experience working for a large company are likly to lead these jurors are likely to have greater savvy in working with and leading groups, making them more natural candidates to emerge as a real or de facto jury foreperson. Leadership experience doesn't necessarily make a juror good or bad for your case, but it does make the attitudes of that leader pivotal.
Additional resources provided by the author
Howard Roitman, Esq.
8921 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89117