January 12, 2013, 07:30 AM
Interesting article on juries and their perception of weapons used in self defense scenarios.
I would say the second thing in any self-defense
shooting is to have knowledgeable legal expertise on
your side. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve read in the jury
studies that the thing that wins the case is what they call
the story model, the story they hear first in the opening
statements. If you have a self-defense shooting, you
want to tell why you were righteously defending yourself.
I think you need a lawyer who understands the nuances
of armed self defense, the nuances of weapons, to be
able to get your story to the jury right away. Make sure
you have a lawyer and expert team that has the ability to
tell your story first.
also read "What every gun owner needs to know about self defense law."
January 12, 2013, 11:57 AM
The case is usually decided with the jury selection not with story telling. Volumes has been written about how to select a jury.
January 12, 2013, 12:11 PM
Lawyers on both sides have effectively taken away the "jury composed of your peers" to be "juries handpicked to help us win." This is one of the main reasons why cases take so long to be heard initially, the defense and prosecution are passing little sly motions to get juries composed of members who will favor one side or the other.
January 12, 2013, 12:39 PM
The case is usually decided with the jury selection not with story telling. Volumes has been written about how to select a jury. What balderdash. Jury selection is important, but presenting the case is also important. Volumes have been written about that too.
Lawyers on both sides have effectively taken away the "jury composed of your peers" to be "juries handpicked to help us win." This is one of the main reasons why cases take so long to be heard initially, the defense and prosecution are passing little sly motions to get juries composed of members who will favor one side or the other. Wrong.
Nothing in the law of the United States entitles you to a jury of your peers, i. e., people belonging to the same societal group, especially based on age or status, as you. You are entitled to an impartial jury (Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States).
The notion of a "jury of one's peers" comes from Magna Carta and was indeed intended to refer to being judged by one's equals. Magna Carta was forced on King John by the feudal barons to protect their interests. Their first concern was that they be judged only by nobles of similar rank. (And indeed until relatively recently, a British noble charged with a crime was entitled to be tried in the House of Lords. The last trial in the House of Lords was in 1935, and the trial jurisdiction of the House of Lords was abolished in 1948.)
This is how jury selection works:
Each side gets a set number of peremptory challenges and can thereby excuse a limited number of prospective jurors without stating a cause.
A lawyer owes an absolute duty of loyalty to his client. He is required to exercise his professional judgment in the best interests of his client.
So he will use his peremptory challenges to exclude those people from the jury who he, in the exercise of his professional judgment, believes will be least receptive to his client, his client's position, the witnesses his client might be offering and/or his client's legal arguments.
At the same time he will need to use his peremptory challenges to exclude those people from the jury who he, in the exercise of his professional judgment, believes will be most receptive to his client's opponent's position, etc.
But he has only a limited number of peremptory challenges. And the other side will be doing exactly the same thing.
So the result is that if each side has, say, ten peremptory challenges, the lawyer on each side will excuse without cause the ten possible jurors he has decided will be least desirable from his particular perspective. If there are 50 jurors in the jury pool, the jury will then consist of persons from the remaining group of 30, unless one side or the other can convince the judge of actual bias.
The result of the process is probably going to be the most impartial jury available out of that jury pool of 50 people.
It's fashionable to denigrate the jury system and process wthout really understanding it.