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Mastering Group Voir Dire: Tip 3—Capitalize on Initial Hand-Raising

March 21st, 2017|

March 23, 2017 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D.      In the first two tips in our series, I focused on encouraging attorneys to treat voir dire as a conversation with jurors (Tip 1) and to use techniques that help jurors become comfortable with speaking at the beginning of voir dire (Tip 2).  But much, if not most, of voir dire questioning relies on having jurors raise their hands in response to your questions.  Such hand-raising may be an end in itself or, as in many cases, is the gateway for follow-up individual questioning.  Whether it is questioning in smaller groups (e.g.,

Mastering Group Voir Dire: Tip 2—Getting Jurors to Talk from the Start

July 29th, 2016|

August 2, 2016 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D.     Voir dire can be an intimidating situation for the attorney—but just think what it is like for the potential jurors. Answering questions, often of a personal nature, in open court, in front of their fellow jurors, the judge, attorneys, and even the media can make anyone nervous and reluctant to talk. But talk they must if we are to have a useful voir dire.  Sure, you can ask potential jurors questions and hope that you get everyone to talk.  And, of course, you have seen Tip 1 and are ready to have a conversation

Mastering Group Voir Dire: Tip 1—Adopting the Proper Orientation for the Voir Dire Setting

July 7th, 2016|

July 7, 2016 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D.      As I mentioned in the introduction to this series on Mastering Group Voir Dire, group voir dire is the most challenging format for questioning jurors and getting them to respond honestly and candidly. The first tip in our series focuses less on the jurors and more on the attorney who is conducting voir dire questioning.  It is the orientation or approach that the attorney takes to the questioning process that sets the tone for voir dire. (Click here to see a short video for this tip.)      How you approach voir dire

Trial Judges: Can We Talk?!—Supreme Court Case of Foster v. Chatman

June 13th, 2016|

June 13, 2016 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D.      I usually address my posts to attorneys with suggestions concerning jury issues.  But today, I want to address trial judges (and attorneys) in light of the recent decision in Foster v. Chatman, 136 S. Ct. 290 (2016), concerning the discriminatory use of peremptory challenges. Foster v. Chatman: Poster Child for Discriminatory Purpose      First, some basic facts. Timothy Foster, a black man, was convicted of capital murder in Georgia in 1987, months after the landmark Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), decision banning discriminatory use of peremptory challenges based on race.  While

Announcing the Mastering Group Voir Dire Tips Series

March 7th, 2016|

March 7, 2016 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D. Group voir dire is the most challenging format for questioning jurors and getting them to respond honestly and candidly. However, it is not hopeless. Over the course of this year, I will present a series of short tips on how you can conduct group voir dire more effectively and get the most out of this format.  I will address 10 tips using both blog posts and companion short, two-minute videos (check out the introduction here).  The tips will address the following topics:      Tip 1:  Adopting the Proper Orientation for the Voir Dire

When It Absolutely, Positively has to be . . . NOW?!!

November 30th, 2015|

Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D. Researching Potential Jurors During Voir Dire      In many, if not most, jurisdictions, the list of potential jurors is made available to the parties at some point before the day jury selection begins. As a trial consultant, I am often called upon to conduct research on potential jurors before trial. This research consists of general Internet searches and utilizing sources like social media (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram), news media, publicly available databases (e.g., political contributions, parties in civil lawsuits, housing values, and other public records, etc.), and any custom databases developed specifically for the

Member (Jury) Selection in General Courts Martial

September 9th, 2013|

September 9, 2013 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D. I was recently asked by the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC) to guest post on their"Deliberations" blog and here is the result. IN A WORLD . . . where the convening authority selects the entire pool of potential panel members . . . where the defense and prosecution each have potentially only one peremptory challenge, even in a death penalty case . . . where challenges for cause are the only realistic method for removing potentially biased members . . . No this is not the recent movie by the same name,

See You on the Internet—Uh, I Mean, in Court: On Litigation-Based Websites

November 5th, 2012|

 November 5, 2012 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D. A relatively new strategy by litigants is to take their cases to the public, not through press conferences but through establishing a voice on the Internet. True, this is not new. Martha Stewart and Michael Jackson had websites that supported their legal cases, and former Chicago Governor Rob Blagoivich had a Facebook page. Discussions of these activities can be found in Chapter 8, Jurors and the Internet, of my book. Several interesting developments have occurred since the early days of litigant PR websites. First, getting the message out is not as cost-prohibitive as

What Is It About “Don’t Twitter” You Do Not Understand?

December 19th, 2011|

December 14, 2011 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D. A murder conviction and death penalty sentence were reversed and remanded in part because of tweets by a juror during trial. In a potentially game-changing decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court in Erickson Dimas-Martinez v. Arkansas, addressed an issue different from many other cases of Internet abuse by jurors. The issue facing the court was whether a juror's violation of the court's instruction by tweeting about the case denied the defendant a fair trial, not whether the content of the posts reflected bias or prejudice against the defendant. As such, the facts of tweeting

Did I Say That? Another Reason to Do Online Checks on Potential (and Trial) Jurors

October 13th, 2011|

October 13, 2011 Jeffrey T. Frederick, Ph.D. Sure, in highly publicized cases, we all ask potential jurors whether they have expressed an opinion to others or, perhaps, written a letter to the editor regarding the case. And we tend to rely on the answers jurors give—although I have been involved in a death penalty trial where a potential juror, as editor of a local newspaper, had "forgotten" that he had written an editorial supporting capital punishment. Fortunately, the defense attorney had a copy of the editorial. The Internet has vastly increased the opportunity for potential jurors to comment on cases