Jury Selection: Simple Rule 9: The Beer Pong Rule


In Beer Pong,

The ball is always in play. If the ball hits the floor, ceiling, wall or even leaves the room it can still be, and should be, hit back in the direction of the table.

So it is in jury selection, except that “the ball” is the conversation and “the table” is the case. Almost anything that any potential juror says can be hit back toward another juror.

Simple Rule 9, The Beer Pong Rule: The ball is always in play.

For example, Mr. Jones says that he thinks your client is guilty because she is charged with a crime. You could flinch, make a note, and try to move on, or you could hit the ball back:

“How many of you agree with Mr. Jones?”

“Who disagrees with Mr. Jones?”

“Ms. Smith, how do you feel about what Mr. Jones just said?”

“Ms. Leonard, Mr. Jones says that my client is guilty because he’s charged. What are we doing here, then?”

or

“Mr. Brown, I see you sadly shaking your head and fighting back bitter tears. What’s going on with you?”

Even when a particular topic is exhausted, you can keep the ball in play: “Who thinks it’s time to move on to another subject?” Let the jury help you decide. (This is an idea that I hope runs through these rules: that jury selection is a game played with, and not against, the jurors.)

Sometimes someone (a juror? the judge? you?) steps on the ball and it won’t bounce anymore. Then it’s your job to find another ball and serve it. Until then, though, the ball is always in play.


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