Jury Selection

Below my latest on jury selection:

Introduction. “Get to talk to you three times: Now during jury selection, opening statement, and closing statement. But here in jury selection you do most of talking. What we are doing is hearing your personal feelings, experiences and outlooks to see if this is the right jury for you.”

Read Neutral Statement. “What comes to mind on hearing this statement?” (Ideally we are off and running after the first comment. Listen and encourage input. Keep the comment ball rolling). “Who agrees with Mr. Jones?”  “Who disagrees.” “Tell me more.” Thank panel member for input. Never cross examine or disagree.

Flow into Next Area of Discussion. Allow panel members to get into other topics on their own through input when good topic for discussion surfaces as conversation evolves. Be attentive to talking juror. Listen with appreciation.

Either or Questions. Have set of three either or questions to get conversation when never starts, dies, or running out of time. “Let’s do either or. I will read two statements and ask you to raise your number for the statement closest to how you feel.” 1) Lawsuits are at times necessary to receive fair compensation for a personal injury, or Lawsuits are a drain on society, bad things happen, move on and forget about personal injury. 2) There should be caps on damages above which jury cannot award, or Juries should be able to award what they collectively feel the case is worth. 3) If a person is injured his medical bills should be paid and his lost wages but that’s it, or If a person is injured he should also receive money for non economic damages he proves.

Note on the either or you will find jurors who do not agree with either proposition. These jurors are often the type who will be the presiding juror. Have discussion with jurors who will not go either way to hear their feelings and viewpoints.

Save Softball Question. Always end positive. This is done by way of softball feel good question involving everyone. “Not much time left. In one word tell us your most important thing in life. Then go to juror after juror ending voir dire with last answer.”

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