Goals of Jury Selection
It has been said many times that jury selection is the most important part of a criminal jury trial. If you don’t wind up with the right type of jurors on your case, you have little chance of winning. This is all common sense stuff, but it is still surprising to see how many criminal lawyers go about selecting a jury the wrong way. Here are some things to keep in mind win conducting jury selection.
First, it isn’t jury selection. It is actually jury de-selection. In a felony case each side gets ten strikes. Both side can also try to get rid of as many jurors as they can by having them disqualified for legal reasons. Your ten strikes are valuable. Think of them as silver bullets that are used on the ten jurors who will do your client the most harm.
The first goal of jury selection should be to identify the harmful jurors. This must be done by developing a relationship with the jurors – get them to open up and talk about their true feelings. You want them to say enough to get themselves removed for legal cause. Every juror removed for legal cause saves one of your silver bullets for another juror who you can’t get rid of for legal cause.
Lawyers often make the mistake of lecturing to a jury. This is a terrible mistake. If you do all the talking, you learn nothing from the jurors and bore them to death.
The goal is to get the jurors to do all the talking. Never be judgmental. Listen and follow up with more questions. Then ask other jurors if they agree with what has been said. The more information you get from jurors, the better informed you will be when comes to deciding which jurors you are going to strike.