Milwaukee trial lawyer and jury consultant Anne Reed gives the latest issue of Blawg Review a jury-selection twist in Blawg Review #127. The roundup of law-related weblog posts is organized around a set of reminders about jury selection, as follows:
Look for leaders . . .
. . . and dissenters;
Watch for points of view;
Look for skills;
Notice how they process information;
Know what generational differences mean, and don't;
Pay attention to the quiet ones;
Remember they have lives;
Not all jurors are like you;
Some just want to get back to work;
Learn the publicity, whether it's national . . .
. . . or local;
They want the big picture;
If you're lucky, you'll have a juror artist;
Make a good impression; and
Remember the majesty.
Check it out. And remember that the Blawg Review weblog has information about next week's host and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Even if jury selection remains a crapshoot, the process has come a long way since the days of Clarence Darrow, who counseled that Presbyterians are often "cold as the grave," Baptists even "more hopeless," while Irishmen are the opposite, "emotional, kindly and sympathetic"
In the current Psychology Today, the new science of jury selection gets a critical look in "Unnatural Selection," by Matthew Hutson--
Jury consulting has become a big business over the past three decades. Hundreds of firms now rake in several hundred million dollars a year. Many offer "scientific jury selection" services, deploying demographics, statistics, and social psychology to cull potential jurors and engineer the perfect panel of people. But as these gurus aim to extract sure verdicts from parties of unknowns, their grasp on the chemistry of human nature appears to require a working knowledge of alchemy . . .. Despite all the money and research poured into predicting and shaping jury decisions, to a large degree the state of the art remains just that: art.
The alchemists who practice the art, however, think it's more: they call it "applied psychology." About half of jury consultants are psychologists. The others are "hail from a variety of fields—business, law, marketing, communications, theater, statistics."
For anyone interested in jury selection, "Unnatural Selection" provides a good overview of how jury consultants work and what they're looking for in jurors.
One of the duties of the defense lawyer during jury selection is to identify those jurors with an anti-corporate bias. In the National Law Journal, Ken Broda-Bahm and Kevin Boully identify three types of anti-corporate bias, the moralists, the egalitarians, and the individualists. Each type bears a different, though related, type of anti-corporate bias.
Targeting the most extreme anti-corporate individualist in jury selection is critical. While some potential jurors will not necessarily give full voice to their attitudes on too-powerful corporations in voir dire, several questions can be used as markers of those attitudes:
"How many of you have ever worked for a company with more than 500 employees?"
"Who has ever served in a management position, supervising others?"
"Who agrees with the view that the government should more closely regulate corporations?"
Questions of this sort may also be useful for plaintiffs' counsel, who will be working to preserve the very sort of juror the defense counsel is hoping to strike.