This past week, King County Superior Courts in Seattle, Washington laid out their plans for the resumption of civil jury trials. In an effort to avoid having large groups of jurors in the same place, jury selection will be conducted mostly over Zoom, which is a fascinating development that should cause many to rethink their jury selection strategy. However, the court has also noted that it intends to rely on the expanded use of supplemental juror questionnaires, though the parameters will likely vary from case to case and judge to judge. We have seen a lot of different supplemental juror questionnaires used by courts across the country ranging from a half-page sheet with almost no useful information to 47-page questionnaires with so much information that it was difficult to analyze in the time that we were given. Continue reading →
This week, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Above the Law about the research we have been conducting on how the pandemic impacts the jury pool and jury decision-making in general. Our findings have significant implications for trial scheduling and strategy development, making this episode well worth the listen. However, this only scratches the surface on the data that we have collected. We hope to publish more and more findings as we work through the data analysis in the coming weeks.
Recently, I picked a jury in the Pacific Northwest where the judge provided the attorneys for each side limited time for attorney-conducted voir dire (20 minutes each). While the time allocations for voir dire vary from case to case and from judge to judge, most jury selections involve some sort of time limitations along these lines. In other words, in many case, attorneys probably need more time than they actually receive in order to conduct the kind of jury selection that they would prefer. This has important implications because it means that every choice an attorney makes in his or her voir dire is a trade-off. If an attorney spends time focused on one topic, it takes time away from another topic. Consequently, attorneys are put in the position of having to make some tough choices about how to spend their time. Continue reading →