Make your jurors feel good about themselves

Guest attorney Drew Atria

Renowned trial attorney Gerry Spence warns criminal defense attorneys against using subtleties when both questioning them in voir dire and in the presentation of your criminal defense. At the same time, it is paramount that a defending lawyer shows empathy and comes across as being “genuine.”

Fort Lauderdale Attorney William R. Moore quotes famous trial attorney

South Florida criminal defense lawyers William R. Moore and Drew Atria discuss methods to accomplish these goals in addition to making the triers of fact in your next criminal trial feel more comfortable and shed nervousness.

Tactics that criminal lawyers use to make jurors feel comfortable 

Individual jurors should always be given the opportunity to talk about themselves without taking the focus away from the individual being questioned in any way shape or form. See the latest episode of “State of Arrest”  with self Florida criminal defense lawyer William R. Moore.

Important to be cognizant of the specific tactics that might be used to influence jurors but cautions strongly against using them tactically in an effort to get them to vote not guilty claims Attorney Moore.

“People that may be chosen to sit in judgment of an accused have life experiences and can spot manipulation tactics, or grooming a mile away. Let prosecutors be disingenuous which in my opinion they often are due to the fact that many years standard questions and hypotheticals.”

Criminal cases generally involve police officer betrayal

Let the police that will testify as witnesses for the state appear disingenuous through betrayal. According to renowned trial lawyer Gerry Spence, every criminal matter that a lawyer defends involves an element of betrayal by the police upon the defendant.

Betrayal and deception in DUI cases.

According to DUI lawyers in Broward County, Florida, the following allegations are made in 99% of DUI arrests: Slurred speech, red eyes, argumentative, inability to stand without sweating, inability to follow instructions during the roadside sobriety exercises.

William Moore claims that DUI surveillance videos will often show the absence of at least one of these cues of impairment. As this is naturally in direct conflict with officer testimony, jurors will have a natural tendency to feel betrayed. A skilled lawyer will nail this down repeatedly in closing.

Prosecutors want convictions in furtherance of their career; Police officers want arrests followed by convictions in furtherance of their career. Criminal jurors will always have a real problem with this. – Attorney William R. Moore

People know when criminal lawyers are trying to groom them

Understanding the verbal and nonverbal cues that can be used to identify with others can be seen as manipulative if used tactically as opposed to an attorneys simply being aware of them as opposed to being forced. The raising of eyebrows, nodding of the head or even smiling at jurors is strictly prohibited (within reason) by the code of ethics that regulate lawyers. The same holds true with regard to the sharing of similar experiences during the questioning of potential jurors in the selection phase of a criminal trial.

Methods designed to assist jurors in overcoming anxiety or nervousness, however, are tolerated to a certain extent. In fact, the above-mentioned lawyer Gerry Spense has been known to outwardly express the fact that he too generally feels “downright terrified” before trial directly to potential jurors.

The lawyers have a lot riding on the outcome of the case. Like I said prosecutors want to further their careers and the defense attorneys have to deal with the very real fact that their failure will result in their clients being placed on probation, sent to prison or possibly even sentenced to death. Any lawyer who claims not to feel some element of anxiety as the criminal trial begins. Sharing this information with the potential triers of fact is a way to empathize that many prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers.

Remember, be real, be genuine.

Short “to the point” direct examination in criminal trial

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer William R. Moore on Direct Examination

Criminal defense attorneys are taught to use short and concise questions when examining witnesses whose testimony cast doubt as to his or her guilt. Questioning that is “to the point” avoids the inadvertent asking of leading questions, which are prohibited by the Florida rules of evidence where the defending lawyer is not laying a required foundation with respect to admissibility.

Attention span and retention of criminal jurors

Believe it or not, most decisions are made by our “unconscious brain” claims attorney Drew Atria. Research suggests that of the 40 million bits of information received, the average person is only aware of a mere 40 bits.

Watch the video cast about juror retention span

“When examining defense witnesses or even choosing jurors to sit on your criminal trial, the defending lawyer should always ask questions in small bite sized chunks” claims Atria. This is corroborated by years of research that has continuously established that our attention span rarely exceeds 20 seconds when it comes to basic issues. Consequently, where appropriate, you will find that most criminal defense attorneys tried to elicit answers from their witnesses that fall within this time parameter on direct examination. 

Short questions keep the defense witness, jurors and criminal lawyer on track

During direct examination, the criminal attorney charged with defending the accused will always focus on one fact at a time. Doing so keeps his or her witnesses focused on the chronological order of events in addition to helping them become more comfortable in their testimony as it progresses. According to criminal defense lawyer William R. Moore, the more calm and confident witness appears the more credible their testimony comes across to the triers of fact.

“It is paramount that defense witnesses do not become confused by complex or multi-faceted questions. The confused witness becomes less effective when their anxiety increases which results in the jurors being equally confused as well as unsure as to the reliability of the evidence sought to be elicited by the defense.

information about this article may be obtained directly by contacting criminal defense attorney William R. Moore 954-523-5333.