New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Juror Forms an Instant Bond with a Lawyer during Jury Selection  

Posted on Mar 3, 2015 in Legal Terminology, Personal Injury

In a personal injury case, during jury selection, the two lawyers are questioning potential jurors. The questioning process enables the lawyers to find out if the prospects can be fair, impartial, and are able to listen to the dispute of the case. The plaintiff’s side will be claiming that the doctor or hospital had violated the basic standards of medical care, whereas the defense will be disagreeing with this, and there is a dispute.

Jury Selection Process

Jury Box

The jury always should be impartial and unbiased towards either of the parties. Certainly at the outset.

The plaintiff’s lawyer will have to question the first six jurors to see if they can be fair and impartial, and are able to sit and listen to all the testimonies in the case. Before the questioning begins, each juror is given a questionnaire that has to be answered. One of the prospective jurors is a young man who is in college, and in his questionnaire, he has written that he likes playing video games. This is just an example, it could be movies and Transformers in particular as well.

The plaintiff’s lawyer asks him, if he loves playing the video game, “Halo”, and the man answers that he loves playing that game, and plays it every chance that he has. Now, Halo is a violent, war-like video game that appeals to many. When the lawyer asked him about the game, an instant bond was formed, since the young man thought the lawyer knew something about video games. However, the defense attorney did not care for this instant connection.

Defense does not want a Particular Juror

After the plaintiff’s lawyer had finished questioning the potential jurors, it was time for the defense attorney to question them. When it was time to question the young man who liked video games, the defense lawyer tried everything possible to remove this person off the jury voluntarily.

This means, the lawyer tried to make the young man recognize the fact that because there was instant bond with the plaintiff’s lawyer, he could not remain fair enough or impartial. However, the potential juror maintained his position that he could remain impartial and fair, and was doing everything possible to stay on the jury.

From the defense’s point of view, the young man had formed an instant connection with the plaintiff’s attorney, and therefore the defense lawyer had to do everything possible to get him off the jury. Due to the bond that was created, the young man was likely to think that the plaintiff’s witnesses were more credible compared to the defense’s witnesses. It was possible simply because of that instant connection with the plaintiff’s lawyer.

Three Check Marks

However, the defense lawyer was unable to get this potential juror to excuse himself, and the lawyer had to use his peremptory challenge. The law allows three opportunities to each lawyer to excuse a potential juror without giving any reason, and these are called peremptory challenges. Hence, the defense attorney had to use one of his peremptory challenges to transition this juror off the jury, since the young man was not willing to excuse himself voluntarily, and was maintaining that he could remain fair and impartial.

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