I blogged here about lessons learned from a prosecutor’s voir dire. Defender Extraordinaire John Gioffredi of Dallas left this comment, which I thought deserved a little bump so that others could appreciate it:
I wonder what would happen if, after hearing the state’s nauseating double “GOOD MORNING,” the defense started it’s voir dire by asking:
“Before I get started, I’d like to ask you a very simple question. I’ve wondered about this for years, and it’s never dawned on me to ask it until today.
“Remember the very first thing out of the government lawyer’s mouth this morning? When the government lawyer asked you to repeat “good morning” with more enthusiam than your initial response?
“Did anyone find that to be cute, or original? Did it make any of you feel like you were being patronized, or being treated like a child in school? Why do you think they do that?
“Did any of you find that opening to be somewhat offensive, or condescending, or even inappropriate, considering the serious nature of our business at hand? Wouldn’t that be more appropriate at a seminar, or a pep rally?
“Was the prosecution’s introduction original and inspiring to you, or just cheesy? I’ve honestly wondered about this for years, since it seems that every government lawyer does it on every single case. Does anyone besides me think an opening like that is inappropriate and cheesy in this type of serious situation?
“It’s OK to answer honestly. That’s what jury selection is all about – being honest. The prosecution makes that opening in every trial, so I think we’d all really like to know.
“Does anyone think that the government should probably just skip that technique and get straight to the point?
“Well, instead of trying to manipulate you into shouting “good morning” for me louder than you did for them, let’s talk about some really important issues in this case…”
You’d have to be very cautious in choosing the right case to try this, and it could easily backfire on the defense, but you could sure irritate the spit out of the prosecution…
I like it. If a few of us start pointing out to juries what the prosecutor is trying to do, I expect that the state will abandon this odious practice, and the world will be a more attractive place, if not a more just one.