I don’t care what jury consultants say, picking a jury is an art and not a science.
For most trial lawyers, it’s based on gut feelings and sizing people up quickly and peeks at what a juror’s t-shirt says or what book she’s reading.
The dirty little secret is that it’s also based an awful lot on stereotypes. I hate that part, but it’s a necessary evil.
I want to talk about uncovering juror bias during jury selection. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a fair trial and that includes a fair jury too.
If you’re looking for wisdom about how to uncover juror bias, you’ve come to the wrong place. (Sorry for the clickbait title.) I’ve tried a lot of cases and talked to a lot of jurors before trial (and after), and I’ve come to the very definite conclusion that it’s pretty much impossible to uncover all the bias during our current jury selection system.
The court system is short on time and resources. We all do the best we can. A recent case out of the Ninth Circuit shows that sometimes the court’s best efforts are not enough.