Category: Jury Selection

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 4: The 90/10 Rule

    We lawyers love to hear ourselves talk. That can be the death of a jury selection. In a good voir dire, the jurors do most of the talking. Even if I can’t hear what the lawyer and jurors are saying, I can tell a good voir dire from a bad one by listening, as long […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 3: The Shrek Rule

    They are once again on their way. They are walking through the forest. Shrek belches. DONKEY Shrek! SHREK What? It’s a compliment. Better out than in, I always say. (laughs) DONKEY Well, it’s no way to behave in front of a princess. Fiona belches Thence, Rule 3 of the Simple Rules for Better Jury Selection: […]

  • Rules

    Jury consultant Dennis Elias (@JuryVox) twitted: At opening statement you have no standing with the jury. Don’t tell them what the evidence will show; story them the evidence. Break that down into a rule (tell the jury the story of the evidence) and a reason (because you have no standing with the jury). The reason […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 2: The Blind Date Rule

    You may not have noticed this, but people don’t like lawyers very much. Or rather, they don’t like people acting like lawyers very much. Once they get to know them, they like the human beings behind the label just fine, but it’s not the jurors’ job to go behind the label, and if you define […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 1: The Nike Rule

    Rule 1 of my Simple Rules for Better Jury Selection is the Nike Rule: Just do it. It’s not a very sexy rule, so I won’t lead off with it when I’m speaking in Waco in September (I’ll probably put it at the end for the few faithful who stick around); I’ll give you Rule […]

  • Simple Rules for Better Jury Selection [Updated]

    An evolving list: Rule Zero The Nike Rule. The First Blind Date Rule. The Shrek Rule. The 90/10 Rule. MacCarthy’s Bar Rule. Improv Rule I. Improv Rule II. The Shrink Rule. The Beer Pong Rule. The Marathon Rule. The Playing Doctor Rule. The Field Trip Rule. The Undertow Rule. The Atticus Finch Rule. The Bat […]

  • The Hair in the Food, and Jury Selection

    A few rules from growing up Bennett: Never lose altitude unnecessarily. Slow, slow. Look, Look. Never pass up a chance to relieve yourself. Don’t let too much small stuff pile up (this is the companion rule to the more widely known “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “It’s all small stuff”). There’s always a hair […]

  • The Blind Leading the Blind

    One of the common questions asked on Texas criminal lawyers’ listervs is, “does anyone have a voir dire for a … case they could share with me?” (I’m reliably informed that prosecutors do the same amongst themselves.) I have a friend—we’ll call him “Bill Bomble”—who had some experience in show business before becoming a prosecutor. […]

  • The End Result

    This is the case on which I was deselected from the jury last week. Now I’m glad Caroline “Wonder Woman” Dozier decided to strike me; I wouldn’t want to be remembered for having sent a guy to prison during my tenure as HCCLA President. The jury gave the defendant life in prison plus a $10,000 […]

  • Voir Dire Notes: The Accused

    When I sat on a jury panel this week, one thing that jumped to my attention was the behavior of the accused. He, a non-English speaker wearing headphones to listen to the simultaneous translation of the proceedings, had his head down, chin against his chest, for — as far as I could tell — the […]