Jury Trials:  Don’t worry, a jury will believe me.

 

I have heard injured people say this to me over the years.  I have been practicing law for almost 20 years and I can tell you that trials, especially jury trials, are completely unpredictable.

 

A case in point was a jury trial I started in 2018 for a client.  After selecting the jury and listening to the charge by the judge, the trial was to start the next day.  Before the trial commenced the next day, the judge came in and  read a note in open court from one of the jurors.  The juror stated that the juror could not remain objective during the trial due to my client’s ethnic background and that my client came from a group of people known to lie for money.  To say that this was shocking would be an understatement given where we are as a society.  A mistrial was declared and another jury was selected.

 

In practicing for almost 20 years, I have never encountered such an event.   The defense lawyer, a fine gentleman for whom I have great respect and with many more years of experience, had never seen this happen.  My client was, of course, completely devastated.

The foregoing should be warning to those who think that they will convince a jury about their claim.  Simply put, you never know who will be on a jury and you will never know what that person thinks.  You may believe that your case is superior but a jury made not see it that way.

In my practice, I often make it clear to my clients that a trial is uncertain, expensive and time consuming.  No one has a crystal ball and, therefore, you should never assume that you know what a jury will do.

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