Category: Jury Selection

  • Jury Selection Catch-22

    Judges will start giving lawyers more time if lawyers start performing better voir dire. Lawyers will start performing better voir dire if judges start giving them more time.

  • This’ll teach her.

    I was called for jury duty today. Strangely, none of my 100-or-so fellows in the jury assembly room seemed nearly as excited about the prospect of serving as I felt. When I made it to the courtroom (the 180th District Court, Hon. Debbie Mantooth Stricklin presiding) and saw that Caroline “Wonder Woman” Dozier, one of […]

  • Why Challenges for Cause Aren’t Enough

    In response to the blawgospheric discussion of peremptory challenges, Minnesota renaissance man Joel “Jdog” Rosenberg wrote: As an outsider, I’m finding this discussion more than moderately interesting. I think it’s (what passes for) conventional wisdom outside your trade that challenges for cause aren’t particularly difficult to get judges to do that okay-thingee on. In a […]

  • Peremptories — Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em?

    Prompted by this WSJ article noting that some critics of peremptory challenges in jury selection would like to see peremptories limited to three per side, Walter Olson of Overlawyered (@WalterOlson) and Scott Greenfield of Simple Justice (@ScottGreenfield) have been engaged this morning in a twitter conversation about peremptory challenges (and, not incidentally, clever lawyers). They’ve […]

  • Free Goodies from ASTC

    The new edition of the American Society of Trial Consultants The Jury Expert is out. I’ll be paying special attention to Gail Herde’s Take Me to Your Leader: An Examination of Authoritarianism as an Indicator of Juror Bias. I think authoritarianism might be what I’m trying to get at with this scaled jury question; I […]

  • Worst Jury Selection Advice Ever: Don’t Listen

    Elliott Wilcox at Trial Theatre (who could teach even John Bradley lessons on self-aggrandizement as a prosecutor) on the outspoken juror giving answers unfavorable to your client’s case: You do NOT want them sitting in judgment of your client.  They hate you, your client, or your case, and you don’t want them on your jury.  […]

  • I Want Angry Jurors With Low Self-Esteem

    I’ve started reading the quarterly magazine of the American Society of Trial Consultants, The Jury Expert. It’s right up Defending People readers’ alley; it’s even subtitled “The Art and Science of Litigation Advocacy. I downloaded a stack of issues to carry in my bag for quiet times; there are several treasures in each volume. If […]

  • Another Approach to Death-Qualified Jurors

    In jury selection for my aggravated assault trial last week, I objected to the State’s use of a challenge for cause to exclude a potential juror whose religion forbade him judging other people. The objection was under Article I, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution, which provides in relevant part, “No religious test shall ever […]

  • The Trick Question: Prosecutors’ Questions Answered, and Answers Questioned

    The discussion of prosecutors’ pet jury selection question, the “One-Witness-Rule” question, continues. Prosecutor SC asks: “People who would require more than one witness to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt (for reasons Biblical or pragmatic) are qualified to serve as jurors.” Why? Why isn’t this scenario the same as having a juror who would […]

  • The One-Witness Rule

    One question that prosecutors in Harris County are overly fond of asking jurors is this: If we only present one witness, but based on that witness's testimony you believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, can you convict him? The prosecutors then gleefully challenge, for cause, all of the jurors who say […]