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When Picking A Jury, What Is Most Important To My Attorney?

When Picking A Jury, What Is Most Important To My Attorney?

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“An unlimited amount of ‘cause’ disqualifications. Somebody say something like, ‘my father’s been incarcerated for 17 years’, …cause…

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“But in that scenario, that’s not enough cause.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“That isn’t?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“It is not.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“That surprises me!”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Right. And in some ways, it can be difficult from my standpoint because you could see…in the prosecutor’s standpoint that would not be somebody that the prosecutor would want to hear the case. That person would have to say something like…’and I don’t think I could be unbiased’. They would have to actually make some sort of similar statement. ‘I couldn’t listen to the evidence fairly’. There would be something there to make the lack of bias obvious.

Even though, as you and I sit here today, we know full well that we all sit with biases. And if I’ve been a victim of a crime, there’s a good chance that I’m not going to be able to be completely neutral when I’m listening to evidence against somebody charged with a crime. But I can’t kick them off unless they say…for cause, unless they say that.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Obviously, you want to be able to pull that out in a conversation, in a question and answer, with them.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Right. And the other thing that’s important for me during the jury selection…there’s two other big things, I think. And one is…I want to start establishing credibility with the jury. Right. If the jury doesn’t like me, the jury doesn’t believe me, that’s going to hurt my client in a very big way. So, I try to start a rapport with the entire panel right then and there. And the other thing is I want to see how some of these jurors interact with each other. I want to know if somebody is going to stand up for their convictions.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“They’re going to be cooperative and communicative with the other people in the jury panel.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“For sure important, but also not willing to give up their viewpoint just because somebody disagrees with them.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Right. Because all you need is one.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“All you need is one…right.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“That’s, obviously, what you are looking for. And you want somebody that’s going to stand firm.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Right. And there’s some general rules that the attorneys will tell you about jury selection. One of them is that you would never leave another lawyer on the jury. That’s just kind of this unwritten rule. And I’ve actually done it twice…purposely left a lawyer on a jury panel. And it’s worked out very well. Once was because I had a very technical defense under the statute. I knew that attorney knew how to read a statute, and parse it out, and see what the defense really was.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“He would understand it, where a common layman, not involved with the law, would just kind of gloss it over.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Right. And another time, the gal happened to have worked for a public defender’s office at some point in her career. And I knew she was going to have an open mind and listen to a defense. I don’t know why the prosecutor left her on.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Really?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Yeah, that was weird.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“That’s one of those…hindsight is 20/20. So, what are the other ‘unwritten’ rules, general rules?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Some, I think, we should…I do abide by. If I’m representing a criminal defendant, generally speaking, older religious people are going to be somebody I’m going to try to stay away from. People that are obviously conservative I’m going to try to stay away from. I think that you try to see ‘eye contact’ with people. And if somebody’s not willing to make eye contact with you, you, generally, don’t want them on.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, it might be an indication they don’t like you, right off the bat.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“It might be absolutely true. And some people aren’t really happy about being there. And if you know somebody’s really unhappy about being there, it’s a risk having them on the jury pool, because they may take it out on your client.”

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