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How to Get on a Jury

What you do once you're there is up to you.

This article is part of Reason's special Burn After Reading issue, where we offer how-tos, personal stories, and guides for all kinds of activities that can and do happen at the borders of legally permissible behavior. Subscribe Now and get fast first class delivery of the July issue at no extra cost!

If you want to serve on a criminal jury, the most important rule is this: Say as little as possible, with your words, your body language, and your appearance.

But why would you want to sit on a jury in the first place? Because in a criminal trial, if you can read and reason and resist being swayed by emotion, you will make a better juror than most of your fellow members of the community. A jury is the entity that acts as the voice of the community, and serving as a juror allows you to contribute to that voice.

You may also believe that the law under which the defendant is being prosecuted is an illegitimate use of state power. In that case, acting as a juror gives you the opportunity to exercise the power of jury nullification—finding the defendant "not guilty" regardless of whether the state has proven the accusation beyond a reasonable doubt.

This power to nullify an unjust law is as old as the institution of the jury; it's a practice rooted in the principle that a juror can and should reach whatever verdict her conscience leads her to, and that there is nothing the government, or anyone else, can do to stop her beforehand or punish her afterward. Of course, the state prefers to maintain tight control over trials. In most jurisdictions, defense lawyers are prohibited from telling juries about nullification, and judges and prosecutors will, if pressed, lie and tell jurors they may not vote to nullify. But that is all the state can do to try to stop it. Knowing the truth will keep you from being deceived.

In 23 years of criminal defense practice, I've tried more than 40 cases before juries that I've picked, plus assisted and watched many more lawyers' jury selections. I've made a study of the psychology and social dynamics of the process and taught the science and practice of it to countless lawyers across the country. I've learned that getting onto a jury to nullify illegitimate laws is easier when you understand the game that judges and attorneys are playing.

You are an intelligent, opinionated person who wants to share with your fellow citizens the fact that they have the power to follow their consciences in arriving at a verdict. This is admirable. But if you succumb to the temptation to do so during jury selection, your chances of being chosen drop to nil.

We call the process of turning a group of community members into a jury of six or 12 "jury selection," but it is, by necessity, actually jury deselection. Each party can eliminate from the jury pool any person who has a bias for or against the defendant or a bias against any of the laws that are applicable to the case (this is a "challenge for cause"). Then each side can eliminate from the jury pool a fixed number of people for any reason at all, as long as that reason is not some form of proscribed discrimination (this is a "peremptory challenge"). The jury is the first dozen people (or half-dozen, in a misdemeanor case) remaining after both sides have exercised their challenges.

Lawyers find bias, and other reasons to strike jurors, in the things candidates say, the way they act, and how they look. As a practical matter, the first six or 12 people left after the lawyers have used all of their strikes are those who have kept their mouths shut and who appear ordinary.

Bias against "the law applicable to the case" is grounds for a challenge for cause, and while you and I know that jury nullification falls within the bounds of the law, the system in practice does not recognize that principle. Judges will bar defense lawyers from even mentioning jury nullification, and judges and prosecutors will lie to jurors about that power (or right, if you prefer, since the people's rights are, of course, powers in relation to the state). A juror who expresses any understanding of her power to nullify bad laws will certainly be challenged by the prosecutor for cause and excused by the judge. Precedent is very clear that a willingness to nullify the law is a bias against that law, which is grounds for a juror to be stricken for cause.

The first challenge for someone who wants to be able to exercise his own sense of right and wrong in the jury room isto be bluntnot to let the state know that he plans to do so.

Potential jurors are questioned under oath. As a philosophical matter, a person may feel that where the court and the state are lying to jurors about their power to nullify, jurors are justified in lying back. Perhaps you feel the power to nullify a law contains the power to nullify the oath to tell the truth, if that is the only way to exercise your right. But for our current purposes, let's assume that you are unwilling to commit perjury for the sake of nullificationthat you believe lying under oath is a greater evil than being excluded from a jury because you know about your right to nullify bad laws. In that case, if the prosecutor or the judge asks you explicitly about your power to nullify"Ms. Jones, do you believe that a juror has a right to follow her conscience rather than the law?"you will answer truthfully, and your truthful answer will likely get you excused from the jury without further questioning.

Lawyers in jury selection have a lot on their minds, however. They are also often afraid of "poisoning the well" by eliciting ideas they don't want the other potential jurors to hear (including ideas about nullification). Now, this fear is irrational, since a juror who holds such a view but keeps it to himself will quietly carry the "poison" into the jury room. But even lawyers behave irrationally, and the chance you will be confronted with such a clear and direct question is slim.

Slightly more likely is a query such as, "By show of hands, who here believes in jury nullification?"

If you parse the question and the answer is inescapably "yes," then not raising your hand is concealing facts from the court while under oath to tell the truth. If you do raise your hand, there will be additional questions, which may lead the judge to conclude that you have a bias against the law and should be stricken from the jury. At the very least, your speaking up will give the prosecution a reason to exercise a peremptory challenge against you.

Better, from your perspective, that prosecutors should use a peremptory challenge than a challenge for cause, since they have an unlimited number of the latter but very few of the former. Still, the objective of this exercise is to get on the jury. Fortunately, unless the defense lawyer has telegraphed to the prosecutor an intention to rely on nullification (a bad idea if she actually plans to do so, though an excellent diversion if she does not), you probably won't get this question, either.

What is likelyespecially with a case involving a relatively unpopular law, such as a law criminalizing possession of marijuanais that the prosecutor or judge will ask a question along the lines of, "How many of you think that possession of marijuana should not be against the law?"

Your job as a potential juror is not to make the lawyers' jobs easy for them. If lawyers ask bad questions, you are not obligated to guess at what they actually meant, nor are you obligated to respond to the phrasing they should have used. ("The law in this state is that it is a crime for an adult to possess marijuana, anywhere, at any time. How many of you think that should be the law?") In this instance, you may think it fair to say that "not against the law" means never, under any circumstances, against the law. If you can imagine a situation in which it might be legitimately outlawed (in a school zone by a kindergartner?), you can honestly refrain from volunteering your view.

Assuming you are forced during jury selection to reveal your familiarity with the practice of nullification, you will not be serving on the jury. If, after learning that you know about it, the prosecutor is unwise enough to allow you to say more, you might as well take the opportunity to educate your fellow jurors about the doctrine. At least then you'll have accomplished something.

Nullifying illegitimate laws is easier when you understand the game that judges and attorneys are playing.

A juror who admits he is not able to follow the law is challengeable for cause. That's a freebie for the state. But of course you are able to follow the law; you just don't agree with the judge's and the prosecutor's assessment of the state of it. You don't have to share that last bit unless hard pressed; "I can follow the law" is often sufficient to keep a prosecutor from successfully challenging you for cause. If you can promise to "set aside your beliefs about jury selection and follow the law," so much the better. And what does "set aside your beliefs" mean? Who knows. They are formalistic magic words.

If your beliefs about drug laws are closely examined, you may honestly need to disclose that you would define "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" more strictly in a drug case than in some other cases. That likely won't lead to a challenge for cause: Reasonable doubt is a matter of personal judgment, each juror gets to decide what it means to him or her, and the prosecution isn't allowed to pick only people who agree with its definition of the term.

That pretty well covers the words you say: as few as possible, preferably none, while adopting the interpretation of each question that allows you the most freedom to keep your mouth shut. But you also need to consider the things you say without words. Most of us give away a great deal of information with our body language. Canny lawyers in jury selection are watching your reactionsor have assistants doing soand take that into account when making their peremptory challenges.

They also look at your clothing and accoutrements. So if you want to be on a jury, give them nothing to notice. Have a poker face, dress conservatively, and don't carry incendiary reading material, such as the latest issue of Reason magazine.

Once you get on the jury, you will want to make the most of it. It may be that the defendant is accused of a crime that is malum in se (i.e., inherently wrong); that the police acquired the evidence without violating the defendant's constitutional rights; and that the evidence proves the government's case beyond a reasonable doubt. If so, you will follow the law and vote to convict. But if those conditions are not all true, and if conscience demands that you not convict the defendant, you can try to nullify. You may be able to get the rest of the jury to go along with you and hand down an acquittal.

By the time the presentation of evidence begins, all of the jurors have an opinion on culpability. As soon as they go in the jury room, they take a first vote to see where everyone is. Lawyers like to pretend that jurors then calmly and rationally deliberate, but the truth is that the majority pressures, cajoles, and browbeats the minority to switch sides. The evidence matters only insofar as any juror can use it to shore up her own position or give another juror an excuse to change his.

Each person's vote is a personal moral judgment, and nobody is entitled to pressure another person to go against his belief. But most people are not able to withstand the sort of social pressure that is put on them in the jury room, and so the side with fewer jurors in that first vote is likely to lose this battle. The greater the gap, the more likely are people in the minority to defect.

Criminal verdicts have to be unanimous, so if the jury announces that it cannot come to a decision, the court will take a few steps. First it sends them back for more deliberating. Next it gives them an "Allen charge" or "dynamite charge"a set of instructions from the bench specifically intended to push the jurors to break the deadlock. Only when the court is convinced that the jury is hopelessly hung will the court accept that outcome and declare a mistrial.

The government will then have to decide whether to retry the defendant. A mistrial is not an acquittal, but it's better than a conviction.

Jurors are not always informed about what happens in cases of disagreement in the jury room. You understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel even if the jury hangs, but many of your peers don't. This knowledge is power. If you are the lone nullifier, you have little chance of winning the other 11 (or five) people over to your point of view, except for this: They want to go home; they may not know whether that will happen if there is no agreement; and they are probably not as heavily invested in convicting the defendant as you are in preventing an unjust result. Those three factors give you a chance of participating in an acquittal instead of just a hung jury.

You are unlikely to get there by launching into a disquisition on the history of jury nullification in Anglo-American jurisprudence. Jurors swear to render "a true verdict according to the law and the evidence." You and I know that someone who nullifies a bad statute in order to acquit is not violating this oathyou have pledged to rule according to "the law," which includes the power to nullify. But because judges and prosecutors deny that, you may be making needless trouble for yourself by justifying your verdict in nullification terms. Your fellow jurors could complain to the judge, who will tell them nullification is not the law, thereby setting them more firmly against you. Depending on her level of legal ignorance, your judge also might take other action against you, such as removing you from the jury or holding you in contempt.

Because your verdict is your own personal moral judgment, you have no obligation to explain or justify it to anyone. But if you want to see the defendant acquitted, you need to give your fellow jurors some face-saving justification for moving from "guilty" to "not guilty."

Reasonable doubt is a good place to start, because it is a nebulous standard: A smart person can always find a doubt, and she can usually, if she wants to, find some rationalization for ita reason that it is reasonableas well. During the trial, the defense lawyer should have given you ammunition for convincing those of your peers who are inclined to convict that there is reasonable doubt in the case.

If you show a steadfast dedication to your position and you can give the other jurors some plausible reason to doubt the prosecution's case, you might just be able to turn your one vote into two, two into four, and so forthit gets easier as you have more people on your sideuntil finally you've turned a hung jury into an acquittal.


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  • MichaelChelvam||

    Good article overall, but one thing I would point out is that the number of jury members varies from state to state. What Mark said about there being 6 people on misdemeanor juries and 12 people on felony juries is true in Texas (and probably quite a few other states), but in California at least there are 12 people on both misdemeanor and felony juries.

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  • Grifhunter||

    Its amazing to me how many libertarian,-freedom valuing individuals I know go to extremes to talk themselves OFF jury service. If there is one time in life one can actually stand up to the power of the state in a practical sense, it is through jury service.

    Give up a few days of work to participate in this valued democratic institution or forgo your right to complain.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    I would 'like' this comment if such a thing were possible, even though I'm glad such thing is not possible.

  • Sevo||

    "Give up a few days of work to participate in this valued democratic institution or forgo your right to complain."

    I think someone is unclear on the term 'unalienable'.
    I do not give up my right to complain or any other rights by avoiding being the only participant in a trial not paid what it costs me to be there.

  • ThomasD||

    He's not calling for you to be compelled into participation. He's trying to give you an incentive to participate.

    My only quibble is you don't actually lose your right to complain. What you lose is most all validity of any such complaint.

  • chipper me timbers||

    Except that there is a very good chance you'll end up on a trial that is not worth your time. Many lawsuits go to jury trial and they can be quite long so you might be spending weeks of your life listening to the finer points of some patent you don't give a shit about.

  • PG23COLO||

    Judges lie to jurors.

    Judges tell jurors they are the finders of fact, then prohibit jurors from using the internet or looking for the facts. Jurors were once actual fact finders, based on their knowledge of the community and the parties.

    Judges say they decide matters of law, hiding that the most important legal issue in a criminal case is the verdict, which jurors alone decide.

    Jurors are asked if they can follow the law as given to them by the judge, before the judge gives them the law. Give the judge the benefit of the doubt and say "yes." "The law" includes statutes, the Constitution, and natural law. Statutes which contradict the Constitution or natural law are null and void - a view held by many of America's founders.

    Nullification is a term used to discredit 'not guilty' verdicts which critics believe rest on jurors disregarding or disapproving of "the law." The truth is no one knows or may ask how the jurors reached their verdict. I don't support jury nullification. I support the rights of jurors to determine the verdict according to the facts and the law.

    From my experience - nearly 100 jury trials - there is room for reasonable doubt in nearly every case, even if the criminal statute is clear and doesn't violate a higher law.

    Do discuss the evidence when deliberating; don't discuss the law.

    PG

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I haven't been called to even come in for jury selection in 30 years, no idea why; I vote and drive. But it would be interesting, and there are so many immoral laws that it would take a pretty clear cut case of burglary or assault to get me to vote for conviction. I've wondered how I would disguise my jury nullification vote. I think it would come down to just saying that something smells fishy.

    The anonymous tip was too coincidental to be true.

    The police story was too clean and boy scoutish to be true.

    The prosecutor was too shouty, too angry, too vengeful, and I think he has a personal grudge and is hiding something, not telling the full story.

    The defense seemed pretty shallow; did the judge rig the case by prohibiting the defense from bringing up relevant facts?

    I think I could pretty easily find all sorts of things like that, and might even sway some other jurors to my side. But if none were available, I'd still be able to hold the line on "Something smells fishy."

    Where I would run into problems is borderline immoral cases. A dealer caught with a kilo of heroin doesn't bother me; but what if he looks like a thug, fought like a thug, shot at cops, etc; regardless of what immoral laws put the guy in that position, his decision to shoot at cops and possibly hurt innocent bystanders is wrong, and he made the voluntary choice to do so. It would take more outrageous cop behavior for a conviction there.

  • ThomasD||

    We are (ideally) tried by a jury of our peers. Peers, (ideally) being equals, have the ability to be sympathetic to each other. If the jurors can never see themselves standing in the shoes of the defendant then they are not actually peers and getting to acquital or not guilty is going to be more difficult. Much of this is on the defense counsel, but there are broader factors involved too.

    My father used to tell a story of his early law days doing criminal defense. He had a client charged with drunk driving, and contrary to the cliche he put him on the stand. The client conceded yes, he had been drinking that day, but not that much, and he certainly wasn't drunk, but instead the reason he was driving erratically was because was tired. And why was he tired? Because he had been working three jobs. Why was he working three jobs? To pay for his daughters wedding. And what was he doing on the day he was pulled over? Driving home from his daughters wedding.

    Not guilty.

    Of course, this was also pre-MADD days. So even if the jury thought he had been drinking they didn't care. Because what mattered more (in those days) was that they wanted people to be more like this guy, not less.

    Making a defendant seem less an other and more part of the group can go a long way.

  • perlchpr||

    I don't think I'd vote to convict even if the guy was shooting at the cops. I'd be far more likely to view the police as having been the aggressors.

  • Lar||

    I've been a foreman of a jury. The advice on how to get on is spot on... but doesn't go far enough.

    My issue with this advice is that it talks about getting to acqittal. But full nullification is returning a verdict that doesn't just acquit, it strikes the law down as unjust. That's what we really need to be doing in some cases...

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I don't think jury nullification has ever extended to actually voiding a law forever, just in the current case. The idea is that yes, the defendant did break the law, but no, the law was never designed for this case, the law is a ass in this case, therefore the law does not apply in this case.

  • croaker||

    In a SF story that never got published, involving the creation of an independent nation on the moon, such a provision was actually written in the Constitution. A jury can find Not Guilty, it could also challenge whatever laws the jury was sitting in judgement on. Automatic referendum on the law 90 days later, two-thirds requirement to retain the law.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I think it is important to consider the negotiation strategy within the jury room. For example, it is a bad idea to conduct an initial poll. When people are forced to state a position they will harden to that position. If you need to convince people to come over to your side, don't put them on record as picking the other side first. People hate to change their minds in public.

  • lap83||

    12 Angry Men is the name of my libertarian musical ensemble

  • Juice||

    12 Angry White Cis-het Men, you mean?

  • Robert||

    The rights holder wouldn't let the Teaneck HS Players (incl. Damon Lindelof, TV show maker now) change it to 12 Angry Persons.

  • ThomasD||

    " As a practical matter, the first six or 12 people left after the lawyers have used all of their strikes are those who have kept their mouths shut and who appear ordinary."

    Ordinary.

    Yeah sure, Mark. Your word choice is best described as both polite, and politic.

    What you really mean to say is that they appear gullible, or at least amenable to your pursuasion.

    NTTAWWT, or wrong with nullification. Just that, in the interests of honesty one should be a bit more forthcoming about how attorneys view jury selection. Because none of you really want free thinkers or iconoclasts on the jury. Loose cannons that they are.

  • albo||

    99 percent of the people here would never survive voir dire. Too smart for the defense attorney to pick.

  • ThomasD||

    Every attorney in the room will want them gone.

  • croaker||

    They pretty much want anyone with a Master's or PhD gone, and especially medical professionals.

  • Sevo||

    "99 percent of the people here would never survive voir dire. Too smart for the defense attorney to pick."

    The prosecution tells a 'story', and the defense answers with their 'story'. If you seem like you're not going to buy the 'story' handed to you, that you might question it, neither wants you in the box.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Our trial system, especially jury trials, have only accidental chances of finding "truth" (and by design are not intended to do so). Given what we know about human memory, bias, and cognition, the worst way to seek objective knowledge and decisions is to use humans.

    My jury experience just reinforces my perspective. Days of listening to fumbling witnesses respond to cryptic leading questions produced a mass self-contradictory testimony. Even from question to question, some witnesses changed their stories in significant ways. Then in deliberation, we heard a second human filtering of what had happened in court. I decided we had no chance for anything rational and close to true, and so went along with the pig-headed majority.

  • ThomasD||

    I don't think the people who wrote the right to trial by jury into the Constitution would disagree, they'd just note that it's the least worst alternative.

  • livefree||

    We use juries not because they are the best means of finding a verdict. We use them because they are the best means of preventing injustices. The problem is that the state lies about the true purpose of a jury.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Mark Twain, on jury selection...

    The men who murdered Virginia's original twenty-six cemetery-occupants were never punished. Why? Because Alfred the Great, when he invented trial by jury and knew that he had admirably framed it to secure justice in his age of the world, was not aware that in the nineteenth century the condition of things would be so entirely changed that unless he rose from the grave and altered the jury plan to meet the emergency, it would prove the most ingenious and infallible agency for defeating justice that human wisdom could contrive. For how could he imagine that we simpletons would go on using his jury plan after circumstances had stripped it of its usefulness, any more than he could imagine that we would go on using his candle-clock after we had invented chronometers? In his day news could not travel fast, and hence he could easily find a jury of honest, intelligent men who had not heard of the case they were called to try—but in our day of telegraphs and newspapers his plan compels us to swear in juries composed of fools and rascals, because the system rigidly excludes honest men and men of brains.

    continued...

  • I'm Not Sure||

    I remember one of those sorrowful farces, in Virginia, which we call a jury trial. A noted desperado killed Mr. B., a good citizen, in the most wanton and cold-blooded way. Of course the papers were full of it, and all men capable of reading, read about it. And of course all men not deaf and dumb and idiotic, talked about it. A jury-list was made out, and Mr. B. L., a prominent banker and a valued citizen, was questioned precisely as he would have been questioned in any court in America:

    "Have you heard of this homicide?"

    "Yes."

    "Have you held conversations upon the subject?"

    "Yes."

    "Have you formed or expressed opinions about it?"

    "Yes."

    "Have you read the newspaper accounts of it?"

    "Yes."

    "We do not want you."

    A minister, intelligent, esteemed, and greatly respected; a merchant of high character and known probity; a mining superintendent of intelligence and unblemished reputation; a quartz mill owner of excellent standing, were all questioned in the same way, and all set aside. Each said the public talk and the newspaper reports had not so biased his mind but that sworn testimony would overthrow his previously formed opinions and enable him to render a verdict without prejudice and in accordance with the facts. But of course such men could not be trusted with the case. Ignoramuses alone could mete out unsullied justice.

    continued...

  • I'm Not Sure||

    When the peremptory challenges were all exhausted, a jury of twelve men was impaneled—a jury who swore they had neither heard, read, talked about nor expressed an opinion concerning a murder which the very cattle in the corrals, the Indians in the sage-brush and the stones in the streets were cognizant of! It was a jury composed of two desperadoes, two low beer-house politicians, three bar-keepers, two ranchmen who could not read, and three dull, stupid, human donkeys! It actually came out afterward, that one of these latter thought that incest and arson were the same thing.

    The verdict rendered by this jury was, Not Guilty. What else could one expect?

    continued...

  • Robert||

    Huh...bar-keepers must've been very different in those days. People must've drunk very quietly.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    The jury system puts a ban upon intelligence and honesty, and a premium upon ignorance, stupidity and perjury. It is a shame that we must continue to use a worthless system because it was good a thousand years ago. In this age, when a gentleman of high social standing, intelligence and probity, swears that testimony given under solemn oath will outweigh, with him, street talk and newspaper reports based upon mere hearsay, he is worth a hundred jurymen who will swear to their own ignorance and stupidity, and justice would be far safer in his hands than in theirs. Why could not the jury law be so altered as to give men of brains and honesty and equal chance with fools and miscreants? Is it right to show the present favoritism to one class of men and inflict a disability on another, in a land whose boast is that all its citizens are free and equal? I am a candidate for the legislature. I desire to tamper with the jury law. I wish to so alter it as to put a premium on intelligence and character, and close the jury box against idiots, blacklegs, and people who do not read newspapers. But no doubt I shall be defeated—every effort I make to save the country "misses fire."

  • lap83||

    Interesting read. Thanks

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Mark Twain must be one of those white racist patriarchs.

  • Verbum Vincet||

    Now this is good stuff, Reason - keep it coming! I'm 40, and I've been called just once. Much to my chagrin, I was on active duty in the Army and months into a pipeline, so I simply couldn't leave. I would have happily driven 500 miles home just for the privilege of serving on a jury. I was righteously pissed that I missed my chance, but pray I get another!

    I've had family members get both grand jury duty and criminal trial jury duty. I tried to exert some influence there. I apprised them on forced plea "bargains" and the exorbitant conviction rates across venues in our Southern state. I enlightened them as to how government is little more than racketeering and extortion by another name. I explained the concepts of nullification, "no victim, no crime" and malum in se vs. malum prohibitum and even fundamentals such as "innocent until proven guilty." I warned them about the typical prosecutorial BS like overcharging, testilying, convoluted reasoning and twisted legalese and other underhanded tactics to pressure jurors to hand the state a "win."

    Like most Americans, it didn't sink in and they rendered true bills and guilty verdicts in 100% of the cases. One was an alleged violent crime, and the rest were Prohibition cases. When asked, they told me "I liked the prosecutor, he was funny" and "I trust the state - they wouldn't arrest someone unless they'd done something wrong." Right...

  • perlchpr||

    When asked, they told me "I liked the prosecutor, he was funny" and "I trust the state - they wouldn't arrest someone unless they'd done something wrong." Right...

    *facepalm*

  • Robert||

    I hung a jury in a federal narcotics trial.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    I'd like to read the details. Give us a little more.

  • Echospinner||

    "If you want to serve on a criminal jury, the most important rule is this: Say as little as possible, with your words, your body language, and your appearance."

    True in any legal proceeding. Give away nothing. When asked questions the basic answers are "Yes, No, I don't know, or..I do not understand the question, can you rephrase it". The lawyers hate the last one.

    Never let the lawyer lead you with a word or phrase you will need to defend later.

    "If your beliefs about drug laws are closely examined, you may honestly need to disclose that you would define "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" more strictly in a drug case than in some other cases."

    My honest answer. " I am a libertarian. I think drug laws should be decriminalized to the extent possible."

  • livefree||

    The problem is that most cases don't go to a jury trial. This is especially likely in drug cases, which are the cases where jurors are most likely to exercise their nullification right.

  • Johannes Dänske||

    The photo above is from "Twelve Angry Men" - an excellent film. Because of my professional position(s), I have steadfastly declined to serve on any jury. Subpoened many times to testify as an "expert witness", I prefer to wait until the sentencing phase / hearing and then unload on prosecutors, "law enforcement" too, but lest I digress ... Ya see, prosecution lawyers, be they State or Federal, are nowhere near as smart as they think they are. *wink*