Have a Little Faith…In Jurors

I often come across attorneys who have trouble trusting jurors.  I can’t blame them – it’s hard to give up control over your case to the minds of 12 strangers who may have no previous knowledge of the law.  But you will get further by putting faith in your jurors than distrusting them. 

For example, if you don’t trust your jurors, you may be more inclined to exaggerate your damages in anticipation of jurors cutting them down.  While jurors do use damage arguments from attorneys as anchors, they will be less inclined to cut your damages if they feel you are being genuine and that the amount you are asking for is fair.   Do not under any circumstance include items in your damages that can seem overreaching.

In jury selection, be open and honest about the problems with your case.  When you then ask jurors to be honest with you, they will be much more inclined to be open.  In addition, you will have disclosed the worst up front so there will be no surprises later and jurors will begin to trust you based on your openness.  During opening and again in closing, tell jurors that you trust their decision.  Guide them toward the verdict you want and certainly explain the law and how your case fits into it, but ultimately trust them to decide the right verdict and amount. 

The wonderful Moe Levine is a perfect example.  This short youtube video will probably educate you more than I could ever type:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0P7EoKrW1o&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

 

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Filed under Misc, Opening Statement, Voir Dire

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