Packing the Jury

L. Rob Werner
October 28, 2008 — 1,014 views  

Clarence Darrow, a famous lawyer at the turn of the century, once said "Every knowing lawyer seeks for a jury of the same sort of men as his clients; men who will be able to imagine themselves in the same situation and realize what verdict the client wants."

During the last several decades there have been many major changes in the law; however, in selecting a jury the attorney's goals remain the same.

In getting the "right" jury, one major consideration is picking the right venue - where the trial will be held. Each courthouse has its own pool of potential jurors. A jury in Santa Monica is likely to have a much different racial, age and socio-economic makeup than that of central Los Angeles.

Indeed it has been said that the major mistake the prosecutors made in the O. J. Simpson trial was filing the case in Los Angeles rather than Santa Monica. The different makeup of the juries may also explain how, in the Rodney King case, a Ventura jury found the officers not guilty while a Los Angeles jury found them guilty.

One reality of life is that even reasonable minds differ in their observations and opinions regarding the same events. Jurors bring a lot of baggage with them into the jury box. Their life experiences is bound to color their decisions. Their view of the credibility of witnesses may be dependent on their own good or bad experiences and even on their own apprehensions or mistrusts.

In high profile cases these factors are complicated and compounded by an effort to select a jury unaware of the basic facts of the publicized case.

Because attorneys are aware of long-term effects of early decisions, courtroom maneuvers and jury selection can become a lengthy and expensive process. Yet, like most things we do in life, effort spent early in an endeavor may bear great rewards.

L. Rob Werner

About the Author

L. Rob Werner - Attorney at Law -

Creating the Law Offices of L. Rob Werner in 1975 to serve the Santa Clarita Valley, CA, L. Rob Werner has since successfully developed a network of full-service offices in the Valley and its surrounding areas.

L. Rob Werner