Jury Selection

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October 10, 2008

In jury selection it is critically important to focus on who and what type of witness the legal professional plans on putting in front of the jury. Often times the choice between professional and layperson during a jury selection is essential to winning the case.

When using an expert witness...
Start preparing the jury in jury selection for this fact. Legal professionals don't want to surprise the jury by calling expert witnesses without their knowledge. Often, jurors can be leery of expert witnesses. They may feel that they are being fooled somehow by someone who knows much more on a topic than they do. Jurors expect to hear from people that have a direct involvement in the case before them. If unprepared for expert testimony, jurors can assume that you don't have any 'real' witnesses and are trying to bamboozle them with professional witnesses.

When using a lay witness...
Who you are calling as factual witnesses plays a critical role in how you pick a jury. Sometimes, you may spend a disproportionate amount of time in jury selection dealing with this sole issue. For instance, if you have a child witness playing a large factual role, you need to make sure you have jurors who will both pay attention and listen to a child. Again, use your juror biographical sheets as an investigative tool. Does a juror have her own kids or teach at a school? Is the juror young and likely inexperienced with young kids? Who has grandchildren?

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