Posts tagged as:

jury selection

It’s not a new idea for reform — I suggested it as my contribution to a book fifteen years ago, it had been kicked around for decades already at that point, England has done it, and we’ve discussed it here. But the route of making progress, as befits our age of anti-discrimination, has been the piecemeal extension of so-called Batson challenges in which it is argued that lawyers used their peremptories to exclude a protected demographic group. The editorialists of the L.A. Times discuss the latest, a Ninth Circuit ruling extending the list of forbidden categories to include sexual orientation.

{ 4 comments }

Jury selection, or de-selection, begins in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin murder trial. The quote above comes from potential juror B37, regarding her consumption of newspapers. [Washington Post; my two cents a while back on jury selection]

A man who showed up at court in Springfield, Mass. to deal with a traffic ticket mistakenly wound up on a jury. The jury proceeded to hear the evidence and closing statements and convict the defendant; the judge declared a mistrial after it emerged that the man, who spoke limited English, had gotten on to the panel by accident. [MassLive]

{ 3 comments }

February 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 24, 2012

  • Melissa Kite, columnist with Britain’s Spectator, writes about her low-speed car crash and its aftermath [first, second, third, fourth]
  • NYT’s Nocera lauds Keystone pipeline, gets called “global warming denier” [NYTimes] More about foundations’ campaign to throttle Alberta tar sands [Coyote] Regulations mandating insurance “disclosures” provide another way for climate change activists to stir the pot [Insurance and Technology]
  • “Cop spends weeks to trick an 18-year-old into possession and sale of a gram of pot” [Frauenfelder, BB]
  • Federal Circuit model order, pilot program could show way to rein in patent e-discovery [Inside Counsel, Corporate Counsel] December Congressional hearing on discovery costs [Lawyers for Civil Justice]
  • Trial lawyer group working with Senate campaigns in North Dakota, Nevada, Wisconsin, Hawaii [Rob Port via LNL] President of Houston Trial Lawyers Association makes U.S. Senate bid [Chron]
  • Panel selection: “Jury strikes matter” [Ron Miller, Maryland Injury]
  • Law-world summaries/Seventeen syllables long/@legal_haiku (& for a similar treatment of high court cases, check out @SupremeHaiku)

{ 1 comment }

Update: Branham v. Ford

by Ted Frank on August 19, 2010

In 2006, I wrote:

In May 2001, Cheryl Jane Hale was driving four children to a sleepover in her 1987 Ford Bronco. She didn’t bother to have the children wear their seat belts, so, when she took her eyes off the road to argue with the backseat passengers, and thus drove off the road and flipped the car, 12-year-old Jesse Branham was thrown from the car and suffered brain damage. A jury in Hampton County, South Carolina (the second jury to be impaneled—the first one was dismissed in a mistrial when it was discovered after two weeks of trial that five of the jurors were former clients of Branham’s lawyers) decided that this was only 45% Hale’s fault, held Ford 55% responsible, which puts Ford entirely on the hook for $31 million in damages.

On Monday, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed because of prejudicial closing arguments that relied heavily on inadmissible evidence. More importantly for lawyers practicing in South Carolina, the Court adopted “the risk-utility test with its requirement of showing a feasible alternative design.”

How bad of a judicial hellhole is Hampton County? Though Hale was a co-defendant, she cooperated with the plaintiffs throughout the trial in their case against Ford, even sitting at the plaintiffs’ table; but because the judge classified Hale as a co-defendant, it meant that Hale got half of the peremptory challenges of the “defense.” More from Comer; no press coverage that I’ve seen yet. (cross-posted from Point of Law)

{ 2 comments }

July 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 2, 2010

  • Report: European sunscreens use superior ingredients US regulators haven’t gotten around to approving [NYT]
  • Some in Pakistan want Zuckerberg executed for hosting “draw Mohammed” [Freethinker, UK]
  • GM fought Clean Air Act? “Sen. Franken’s bad environmental history” [Adler/Volokh]
  • Scary McChesneyite plans for federal intervention in media: FTC seems to be listening [Thierer, City Journal] FCC relations with Free Press on the skids? [Mike Riggs, Daily Caller]
  • In 1978 Canada Supreme Court judicially imposed cap on noneconomic damages, world doesn’t seem to have ended for Canadian litigants [Wood, PoL]
  • “Landlord victorious in Peeps trial” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • Who’ll wind up paying in Chinese drywall litigation? [Risk and Insurance]
  • How not to get out of jury duty [Abnormal Use]

{ 1 comment }

They’re felt more than ever in today’s economy, notes Amy Alkon.

{ 4 comments }

February 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 6, 2010

  • Wronged wife loses suit under California “Drug Dealer Liability Act” (DDLA) against mistress who supplied crack cocaine to husband [OnPoint News]
  • “D.C. Circuit to Former Judge in Pants Lawsuit: Follow the Rules” [NLJ, more, earlier]
  • “Law firm demands retailer destroy all copies of Olivia Munn comic, retailer refuses” [BoingBoing, HeavyInk, earlier on TJIC]
  • Can’t find jury for tobacco trial: “Lawyers excused a woman who said people have no right to sue over diseases that are disclosed on the warning label of a package.” [Russell Jackson, Chamber-backed W.V. Record]
  • Despite widespread misconception to the contrary, editing comments generally does not open blogger to liability over what remains [Citizen Media Law]
  • To heck with HIPAA, introduce your patients to each other if you think they’ll get along [Musings of a Dinosaur]
  • Devoted daughter vs. RSPCA: epic will contest in Britain over family farm bequest [Times Online]
  • Woman found guilty after planting dead rat in meal at upscale restaurant [Appleton Post-Crescent via Lowering the Bar and Obscure Store]

April 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 7, 2009

  • Wisconsin lawyer pressing bill to allow punitive damages against home resellers over claimed defects [Wisconsin State Journal] More: Dad29.
  • Longer than her will? NY Times posts ten-page jury questionnaire in Brooke Astor inheritance case ["City Room"] “Supreme Court: No Constitutional Right to Peremptory Challenge” [Anne Reed]
  • Georgia’s sex offender law, like Illinois’s, covers persons who never committed a sex crime [Balko]
  • “The lawsuits over TVA’s coal ash spill have come from all over Roane County – except the spots closest to home.” [Knoxville News]
  • Bootleg soap: residents smuggle detergents after enactment of Spokane phosphate ban [AP/Yahoo]
  • UK: Elderly Hindu man in religious-accommodation bid for approval of open-air funeral pyre [Telegraph]
  • No DUI, no one hurt, but harsh consequences anyway when Connecticut 18 year old is caught buying six-pack of beer [Fountain]
  • Only one or two not covered previously at this site ["12 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits", Oddee]

{ 1 comment }

I’m on record as saying I wouldn’t mind if they were abolished entirely, although the idea floated by Iowa lawprof in Nathan Koppel’s WSJ article yesterday, of limiting them to three per side, seems like a plausible compromise. (A further possible refinement: excusing more juror prospects if both sides agree in wanting them off the case).

Most of the lawyers who are blogging in response to the Koppel article, however, take a position sharply different from mine: Patrick and Ken at Popehat, Scott Greenfield, Mark Bennett (and further). (More: WSJ law blog.) Deadline pressure doesn’t permit me to join in, but anyone interested in the issue will want to follow the discussion. Earlier mentions on this website are here, including a discussion of England’s near-abolition of the practice in 1989.

{ 1 comment }

Streamlining jury duty

by Walter Olson on January 23, 2009

I made a few favorable remarks about streamlining jury-selection (voir dire) procedure the other day, Houston criminal defense lawyer Mark Bennett expressed an emphatically contrary view that “Streamlining of the justice system will be the death of freedom,” and several others weighed in, including SSFC (Patrick). Many of the posts are memorialized at Nicole Black’s Legal Tweets. It was also agreed (in posts not included) that civil and criminal jury selection raised at least somewhat different issues.

{ 7 comments }

Microblog 2008-11-19

by Walter Olson on November 20, 2008

  • Some backers of big national service plan say better roll it out now before the crisis atmosphere passes [Welch, Reason "Hit and Run"]
  • Sorry ma’am, if hubby’s policy excludes coverage for injury to family members, you can’t blame him as “uninsured motorist” [The Briefcase, Ohio]
  • Much-cited “$70/hr” figure for GM labor costs misleading: covers army of retirees, not just current workers [Salmon; but see McArdle]
  • Thoughts on alleged inability of GM to get debtor-in-possession financing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy [Oman, ConcurOp]
  • Texas p.i. atty Mark Lanier famous for Xmas parties headlined by top stars, this year it’s Miley Cyrus a/k/a Hannah Montana [ABA Journal]
  • “I Want Angry Jurors With Low Self-Esteem” [Bennett, Defending People]
  • “We just really wanted to shatter the cupcake-pizza dichotomy. It’s just existed for too long.” [Seth Gitter via Tyler Cowen]

{ 1 comment }

Microblog 2008-11-14

by Walter Olson on November 14, 2008

  • Lawyers and other professionals who blog should read new Kevin LaCroix post “On Blogging” [D&O Diary h/t @SecuritiesD] #
  • Daily H.L. Mencken quotes [courtesy @ahndymac] #
  • Funny, earthy blog by urban emergency room nurse [Crass-Pollination] # @danimari Odd how ERs generate so many of the best medblogs e.g. WhiteCoatRants, ER Stories, Movin’ Meat, SymTym, GruntDoc etc. #
  • Calm down, conservatives, Dems aren’t planning to revive Fairness Doctrine [James Rainey, L.A. Times] # Or are we sure about that? [Ed Morrissey, Patterico]
  • Advice on jury selection: “don’t continue to poke a bee hive with a stick” [Texas Country Trial Lawyer, h/t @HouCrimLaw] #
  • Video humor for font geeks [College Humor, h/t @sekimori] #
  • Do you blog, tweet, send saucy emails or IMs? You may not be well suited for a job in the new admin [Caron, TaxProf] #
  • @rebeccawatson of possible interest regarding litigious diploma mills [this site, Oct. 27, 2003] #
  • Beautiful photos of New York in the 1930s [Flickr h/t @CoolPics] #

{ 1 comment }

Get juror prospects talking

by Walter Olson on November 7, 2008

After all, that’s the way to disqualify them: “If he speaks long enough, he might say something that lets you strike him for cause, too.” (Trial Theater, Oct. 24).

October 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 27, 2008

  • NYC judge tosses injury suit against Lawyers Athletic League filed by a player on Milberg’s team [NYLJ]
  • Kentucky fen-phen lawyers Gallion and Cunningham disbarred [Lexington Herald-Leader]
  • Worker’s comp doc claims he noticed abnormal lab result and told patient to check with his primary doc. Patient didn’t and harm ensued. Malpractice? [CalLaw Legal Pad, KevinMD, Happy Hospitalist]
  • Federalist Society publishes text of Judge Dennis Jacobs’s speech on pro bono, but Chemerinsky digs in rather than apologize [PoL]
  • Are HIPAA privacy rules suspended during emergencies? No, and what lovely situations that’s likely to cause [HIPAA blog, more]
  • One of the more unusual personal injury lawyer websites is “like a touchy-feely hybrid of Myst and The Office” [Above the Law]
  • Gold-collar criminal defense work? McAfee decides $12 million too rich a sum for defending CFO Prabhat Goyal [Bennett & Bennett, Greenfield]
  • Sounds promising: “Texas Supreme Court decision could end peremptory strikes in jury selection” [SE Texas Record]

September 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 29, 2008

  • Watch where you click: “Kentucky (secretly) commandeers world’s most popular gambling sites” [The Register/OUT-LAW]
  • Erin Brockovich enlists as pitchwoman for NYC tort firm Weitz & Luxenberg [PoL roundup]
  • U.K.: “Millionaire Claims Ghosts Caused Him to Flee His Mortgage, I Mean Mansion” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Prosecution of Lori Drew (MySpace imposture followed by victim’s suicide) a “case study in overcriminalization” [Andrew Grossman, Heritage; earlier; some other resources on overcriminalization here, here, and here]
  • Exonerated Marine plans to sue Rep. John Murtha for defamation [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
  • Snooping on jurors’ online profiles? “Everything is fair game” since “this is war”, says one jury consultant [L.A. Times; earlier]
  • Allentown, Pa. attorney John Karoly, known for police-brutality suits, indicted on charges of forging will to obtain large chunk of his brother’s estate; “Charged with the same offenses are J.P. Karoly, 28, who is John Karoly’s son, and John J. Shane, 72, who has served as an expert medical witness in some of John Karoly’s cases.” [Express-Times, AP, Legal Intelligencer]
  • School safety: “What do the teachers think they might do with the Hula-Hoop, choke on it?” [Betsy Hart, Chicago Sun-Times/Common Good]

{ 9 comments }

Twitter for 2008-09-19

by Walter Olson on September 19, 2008

If you apply for a job handling million-dollar financial exposures or life-and-death safety risks, your prospective employer generally won’t be allowed to ask at the interview what prescription medications you may be taking. On the other hand, if you’re called as a potential juror on a case, the lawyers may enjoy carte blanche to probe and dig to their heart’s content, and you may be obliged to answer the questions proposed by their jury consultants. “A secondary reason for asking is strategic — to bounce jurors they don’t want and use medications as an excuse.” How about requiring the voir dire inquisitors to restrict themselves to the same formulas employers are supposed to use to avoid ADA liability, e.g., “Is there any reason why, with suitable accommodation, you would not be able to concentrate, sit for long periods of time, apply unclouded judgment, and do the other things expected of jurors?” (Julie Kay, National Law Journal, Aug. 26).

{ 11 comments }