Using Social Media to Research Prospective Jurors

Given the decreasing time attorneys have for conducting voir dire, it can be very useful to investigate jurors with publicly available background information. Simply running Google searches can reveal an enormous amount of information about a potential juror in a short amount of time. This public information often will come from social media sources. As Ben Hancock reported in his article for Law.com, “social media profiles can present a trove of data points for jury selection…[but] researching jurors online while keeping on the right side of the judge and local ethics rules is hardly a straightforward exercise.”

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7 Grounds for Objecting During Voir Dire

Once the jury panel has been sworn, prospective jurors are selected at random, seated in the jury box, and questioned. Counsel may conduct a “liberal and probing examination” that’s calculated to discover juror bias or prejudice related to the circumstances of the case. CCP §222.5. But if opposing counsel’s questions go out-of-bounds, you need to be ready to object. Continue reading

Voir Dire: Your First Chance to Make a Good Impression

78724287Some attorneys erroneously think of their opening statement as the first opportunity to present themselves to the jury. In reality, the jurors will begin getting an impression of you—and by extension, your case—as soon as you begin voir dire. It’s critical that you use your interpersonal skills to connect with potential jurors as soon as they enter the courtroom for the first time. Continue reading

7 Suggestions for Your Next Voir Dire

Maybe you’ve been doing voir dire the same way for years, or maybe it’s your first time. Either way, check out these ideas for your next voir dire. Continue reading

4 Keys to Using Your Opening and Closing to Persuade

ThinkstockPhotos-477432677Both the opening statement and the closing argument should be used to persuade. (No, it’s not all about direct and cross.) The adages about the importance of first impressions and last words are worth heeding. Continue reading

5 Things to Do to Prepare for Voir Dire

78724287When next faced with preparing for jury voir dire examination before trial, consider these five practical suggestions. Continue reading

Mini Opening for Voir Dire

jdopening_12384583As they say, never miss a chance to make a good first impression. If the judge permits it, take the opportunity to address prospective jurors before the oral questioning phase of the voir dire has begun. There are many advantages to the mini-opening statement and little downside.  Continue reading

Navigating a Potentially Polluted Jury Pool

2013-07-Polluted-Jury-78724273Issues around pretrial publicity polluting the jury pool were at the forefront in the recent case against Floridian George Zimmerman for the killing of an unarmed teenager. Attorneys handling high-profile cases are presented with a dilemma during voir dire: should they ask about pretrial publicity or not? Continue reading

Do You Know When to Use Jury Questionnaires?

question_154168251Jury questionnaires offer the benefits of efficiency and privacy, but when should you use them? Continue reading

Charting the Jury

Do you have trouble remembering names at a cocktail party? Imagine trying to remember names and facts about potential jurors under the pressure of voir dire examination! There is a handy tool to help with this — a jury box chart. Continue reading