Few offenses if any are viewed with more distain by the American people than those involving sex crimes. Problems faced by cruel defense attorneys are compounded when the victim in such a case is a minor. Statistical analysis of cases involving sexual battery on a minor in the state of Florida revealed that jurors are more likely to believe a victim’s testimony over a defendant as opposed to other crimes. Sympathy for the defendant is almost nonexistent in such cases as opposed to violent offenses that are not sexual in nature according to South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney William R. Moore.
Direct communication between lawyer and potential jurors
How a defense lawyer confronts juror biases depends on the facts and circumstances of each case according to Moore. Obviously, the jury selection process is of paramount importance from a tactical standpoint. There is no question that by virtue of the way our legal process works the selection phase is the only avenue whereby a criminal lawyer may confront juror biases by talking to them individually and directly. See the following video for an effective example as to how jurors may rethink their positions as the triers of fact in a sex case.
Educating the triers of fact about the criminal justice process
The voir dire phase of a criminal trial affords an opportunity for the lawyers to weed out biases that will negatively impact their case. This is considered the primary and most paramount issue to be addressed. According to William Moore this is also the best opportunity to get jurors to think more objectively. Although the purpose of jury selection from a legal standpoint is not to educate jurors, the mere fact that you are able to hold a conversation with these people mandates that use take special care in formulating your questions. The defending lawyer should pose questions in such a way as to get the presumptive panel thinking about the ramifications to not only the accused but to our criminal justice system as a whole should they wrongfully convict an innocent person.
Getting potential jurors to discuss legal concepts
I recently did a radio show with former 30 year public defender Drew Atria whereby we discussed ancillary benefits to being conversational with members of the presumptive panel. The way a defending attorney should begin that conversation depends on a great number of factors depending on what has already been learned about them throughout the process. Criminal lawyers are at an advantage in that they are the last ones to question jurors. You go into your questioning already knowing quite a bit about each member of the presumptive panel. Such knowledge is crucial in determining how to facilitate a conversation with a particular person that may or may not be chosen to sit in judgment of your case.
Alleviating fears of each person before the sit in judgement
Every one of these individuals called for jury duty is nervous. If you can get them talking rather than just answering basic questions that nervousness goes away and they become much more comfortable in the process. More importantly, individuals tend to relate to if not feel some small level of connection to a person who alleviated their fear and anxiety in a stressful situation. Take away a potential jurors stress and they are more apt to reward you for it on some level.
For information about how to be on the William R. Moore’s State of Arrest video broadcast or submit a question, contact criminal defense lawyer William R. Moore directly at 954-523-5333. William R. Moore Criminal Defense Lawyers is located at 1 Financial Plaza Suite 2500, Fort Lauderdale FL 33394