Voir Dire: How to Select a Jury
It has been said by many lawyers that the jury selection process is where your trial is won or lost. Whether or not that is true, jury selection remains a very important part of the trial process, and there are almost as many strategies out there as there are lawyers.
Jury selection is an opportunity on several levels. First, it’s where you first begin getting to know the jury that you’ll be working with for your case–and where they’ll first get to know you and your lawyer. Making a great impression and building rapport at this early stage of the trial can go a long ways toward getting the verdict you want.
Next, you and your lawyer will ask a series of questions designed to ferret out the biases the jurors might have that would play against your lawsuit. There are a number of ways to get at these issues, and some lawyers recommend using an approach that indirectly provides you with clues as to the political leanings of the various jurors on your panel. This strategy should be employed with extreme caution, though. If the jury gets the idea that political leanings are playing into your tactics, then that could backfire and cause them to dislike you.
Questions can be asked in a number of different ways. Some questions might be made to the jury as a whole; whereas you might drill down with a series of questions to a single juror. As serious as it is, having a little bit of fun during this process is what makes a lawyer likeable to the jury and sets the table for a trial and arguments that the jury will find engaging.
Each party will have a number of discretionary “strikes” with which they can remove jurors they believe are likely to be biased against heir positions. Other “strikes” may happen “for cause,” meaning the Court removes them for a reason that shows they will not be able to effectively participate as a juror. One thing that is clearly impermissible is to select and strike jury members based upon their skin color, which amounts to unconstitutional race discrimination.
Mike Wimer is a steady, tried, and true veteran of the jury selection process, and has tried many cases all the way to verdict. If you believe you may need counsel that’s prepared to take a case all the way to trial, call Asheville Legal today.