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What are jurors really thinking in a trial?

Posted by Brian Tillman on 16 January 2013

Well it’s been a while, but it took humor to break me out of the blog doldrums I was in.  Cheers to humor, we don’t get enough of that in this business.  Don’t get me wrong, criminal lawyers do have a sense of humor.  But it’s most often kept in the professional circles, much as I imagine paramedics, firefighters, or morticians joke amongst themselves.  In professions where things often don’t end pleasantly, finding the lighter side of things can make it easier to keep plugging along.  What else you gonna do?

So, jury trials and jurors brains… what in the world can go through their minds during such a serious event?  Most jurors have never sat through a trial, much less a long complicated one, and it’s often their first time seeing a criminal courtroom.  The judge and lawyers do their best to captivate them, feeding them Powerpoint and in-car police videos, but they’re certainly not taking in everything that comes out of our mouths.  We know that’s true because Texas allows us to speak to jurors after the trial is over.  But one thing is for sure… they may not follow the paths we try to provide them, but they do notice a lot of things that we never intend.

As a result, we remind clients (defendants) that they are being watched by the jury, like a bride at a wedding.  I tell them it’s like the hot girl at the bar, nobody’s looking directly at her, but everybody is watching.  No eye rolling, no noserings, etc., and it goes for the lawyers too.  I know lawyers with sleeve tattoos, but they cover them with long sleeves in front of the jury.  Keep them on point, don’t invite them to be distracted.  So when I came across this article in Austin’s “the Onion” paper, I couldn’t help but chuckle because it’s real to me, even though it’s a parody.  Who knows, maybe it’s only funny to lawyers, but it got me writing again.   Who wants to read serious stuff all the time anyway?  Good to be back, enjoy the quick read.

Partially Faded Hand Stamp Undermining Everything Prosecutor Says

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