Jury selection may well be one of the most under-rated elements in an accused's defense strategy, but it could well be the most important, disclosed criminal attorney Kristin Paulding. —
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During a recent Five-Minute Legal Insights podcast, Paulding revealed tips behind jury selection pre-trial to ensure a defendant has a "fair, open and balanced trial."
Paulding of Virginia Beach's 7 Cities Law Attorney said: "One of the key questions in hiring an attorney to handle your case is to discover first what experience, if any, they have of jury trials and their success in the courtroom. Those that have had no experience or only one or two trials to their name may not be the ideal choice."
Paulding went on: "Jury selection depends on the facts of the case and your client. I will look to jurors that can relate to my client. For example, if I have a client with a criminal history or comes from a troubled background, I would want to look at jurors who have similar experiences or whose family may have experience with the criminal justice system. I want someone who can relate to my client's life experiences."
"A defendant often walks into a trial as the underdog. So I will ask people whether they can be open-minded and fair, those that can’t be fair will be removed from the juror panel."
In trying to assess a juror's character, Paulding added: "I look for someone who is going to be fair and impartial. One question that comes up often is whether a person has been a victim of crime. Someone who has been a victim, I don't necessarily want them on the jury as they may feel a certain way about that particular offence.
On her jury selection experience, she commented she "often finds open and impartial jury members. In the last five years, I have only had one or two mistrials where the jury could not come to a decision. That could be down to one person's ideas that don't align with the rest of the panel.
"But for my track record, I believe I have been successful in finding fair and impartial jurors who are willing to listen to the evidence with an open mind."
As for the importance of jury selection, she said: "It is of immense significance. One of the frustrating things here in Virginia is that you get minimal information about jurors ahead of time. I can't do a deep dive on jury selection like you may see in movies. You can have jury questionnaires, but they are relatively rare in Virginia.
"The longest jury selection process I experienced was one day, and the next day we were in trial. The jury selection process can take days and weeks in other states, but Virginia has a very efficient process."
She reflected: "I always try to get a group of people who can come together and deliberate openly. I ask jurors, "Can you voice your opinion even if you don't agree with 11 other people in the jury room?"
Paulding emphasized: "Jury selection is an art form, a nuanced process, and you want to know how many your attorney has done. They need to have a feel for people – that’s something you can't teach.
"A lot of criminal defense attorneys specialize in different areas but many may not have experience of jury trials. They can call themselves criminal defense attorneys, but that doesn't mean they are comfortable in a courtroom. That's the potential catch in selecting the best defense attorney available for your trial."
Name: Kristin Paulding
Email: Send Email
Organization: 7 Cities Law
Address: Building 4, #423, 291 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Source URL: http://RecommendedExperts.biz
Release ID: 89062016