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.

Identifying leaders in criminal trial jury selection

Criminal Trial in Fort Lauderdale

Individuals with strong leadership traits can mean the difference between a guilty or not guilty verdict depending on the life experiences and opinions specific juror possessing such a trait. Identifying leaders is easier than you would think and should be done immediately in the jury selection process.

Leaders are not necessarily going to be chosen as the foreperson.

Many criminal defense attorneys mistake leadership qualities for the same traits used by a chosen jury panel when selecting a foreperson. Much research strongly suggests that prior jury experience is one of the number one reasons that a criminal juror is chosen to lead the deliberations. This is known as “foreperson by default” and in no way relies upon leadership qualities. Regardless of whether the former juror was elected foreperson or not they are likely to be chosen based on their prior experience alone. Contrary to popular belief a foreperson to a criminal trial deliberation is more likely to be led by an “opinion leader” despite holding the title of this honorary role.

Traits of an individual often elected as the foreperson to a criminal trial deliberation

Where there are no chosen jurors on a criminal trial who have had prior jury trial experience, research suggests that the traits looked for by the other panel members are conviction in principle. Attorney William Moore states that while these certainly could exist in individuals possessing strong leadership qualities, they are often more prevalent among followers. A good example of this is among the vast followers who comprise hate groups. Strong and conviction and seemingly ignorant at the same time.

Two types of leaders on a presumptive criminal trial jury

Research suggests that there are two types of leaders each of whom possess entirely different traits. On the one hand you have the loud and overpowering individual and on the other the successful and knowledgeable one.

Dominance leaders

Dominance leaders are individuals who are often loud, interrupt, talk over people, maintain steady eye contact, are stubborn and may often be considered to be bullies. Dominance leaders are very easy to spot and will immediately tell you that they possess leadership qualities when asked.

Prestige leaders

Prestige leaders are quite different in a sense that they are often intellectuals who have achieved success in their chosen field. These people are often looked to as being knowledgeable in the criminal trial jury deliberation process regardless of whether or not their chosen field or area of expertise relates in any way to the criminal justice system.

Opinions of either type can mean the difference between a guilty or not guilty verdict

Neither type of leader is better than the other when it comes to making or breaking your case from a criminal defense standpoint. If a dominance leader is predisposed to believe your defense it makes no difference if they bully their way into convincing the other chosen jurors to vote not guilty. It may be said however, that a prestige leader might be more apt to listen to a well presented defense where dominance leader may rely on predisposition.



The easiest way to identify who will be elected foreperson in your next criminal jury trial

Fort Lauderdale Fl Criminal Lawyer: How Jurors Learn

According to criminal defense attorney Drew Atria, the easiest way to identify potential for persons when selecting a jury to sit on your next criminal trial is to simply ask them.

“At some point during voir dire, I asked the entire panel to raise their hands if they consider themselves to be a leader” states Atria.

“True leaders are all too quick to share this trade about themselves”

Once you’ve identified potential forepersons, your line of questioning and selection can be tailored directly towards selecting the “soldier” best suited to convince the remaining jurors and deliberations that the defense ultimately prevailed and why they should vote not guilty.

Recently on State of Arrest, criminal defense attorneys William R. Moore and Drew Atria discussed the three ways of learning common to all people and thus all potential jurors to a criminal trial.

Speak the language of your jurors

About 50% of the population is more apt to understand things if they are presented in the visual manner, about 35% learned through hearing leaving the smallest percentage to those individuals who learn in terms of feeling and emotion.

Use of exhibits in a criminal trial with respect to visual and auditory learning are discussed with regard to best practices in communicating with a jury chosen to sit on a criminal trial. Specific choice of language is also discussed with reference to individuals who learn through feeling. Methods of identifying the foreperson prior to selection are also addressed.

Questions about this episode should be directed to criminal defense attorney William R. Moore at 954-523-5333. The William R. Moore Criminal Defense Law Firm. 1 Financial Plaza, Fort Lauderdale Fl 33394.

Juror Bias in Sex Cases

Video Broadcast with Lawyer William R. Moore in Fort Lauderdale

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

Criminal Jury Selection by William R. Moore in Broward County FLI 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

Identifying Leaders in Criminal Trial Jury Selection Phase

Broadcast on Identifying Leaders in Criminal Trial Jury Selection Broward County Florida

Criminal defense attorneys often state that a trial is either won or lost in jury selection. In Florida, and if the case does not include a capital offense, both the prosecutor and defense lawyer question an average of 22 potential jurors with the goal of obtaining the final six (and one alternate) who will sit in judgment of the defendant. These final jurors, once sworn in by the presiding judge are considered the finders of fact and must unanimously agree after hearing and considering all of the evidence presented in the criminal trial.

What is the purpose of jury selection in criminal cases?

The legal purpose of the selection process is to ensure that these triers of fact can be fair and impartial. They misstate on the record that they will set aside any personal biases or beliefs that they may have in weighing the evidence and considering either the guilt or non-guilt of the individual accused. While this may be true, defense lawyers and prosecutors alike unanimously agree that there is far more to the process than simply weeding out individuals who would not afford a fair trial to the defendant. Identifying and preserving the right of favorable individuals to sit on the sworn panel is certainly the goal of any experienced litigator. This of course, should be of no surprise considering that every move that defense lawyer makes in trial should be in furtherance of exonerating their client. They want jurors to vote their way. They need those six not guilty votes at the conclusion of the case.

What are the attorneys allowed to do in jury selection?

Criminal law does not recognize or consider argument that a potential juror should sit because either the prosecution or defense, respectively, has established that the individual has shown a likelihood of voting in their favor obviously. In fact, should that knowledge become so evident following a line of questioning, the individual would most certainly be struck by the opposing party. The fact is that most of the jury selection process involves strategy and motivations that are unspoken of as a matter of law but completely accepted as a matter of practice.

What are the lawyers really doing in jury selection?

While any potential juror can be stricken for cause without restriction on the number of strikes, each litigating party has only three preemptory strikes in which to exercise when “cause” is not shown. This makes for quite a complicated and almost mind-bending strategical approach among the lawyers involved. Preventing favorable jurors from being stricken, educating each and every member of the presumptive panel on key issues in addition to building a rapport with the potential finders of fact can become much more complicated than one might think. Throw in about two dozen more issues that are paramount in jury selection for both prosecutor and defense attorney and you have an almost incomprehensible game of three-dimensional chess going on between the players.

Broadcast on jury selection by Attorneys William R. Moore and Drew Atria

Recently attorneys William R. Moore and former 30 year Broward County Public Defender Drew Atria discussed one of these paramount issues as it related to identifying potential jurors who have leadership qualities. “I am always looking for the foreperson who will be sitting in judgment of my client” claims Attorney Moore. Convincing a single juror with strong leadership qualities that the State has not proven their case will ensure victory for the client…

…unless you somehow were unable to prevent a second juror with strong leadership qualities from sitting who was likely to vote in favor of the prosecution.

I want one leader in the group claims Moore and I want that single soldier to vote my way along with convincing the other jurors to do the same. Two “Type A” personalities in the deliberation room assuming the roles of prosecution and defense while we all wait either hours or even days for verdict is never a pleasant manner in which to pass the time.

Questions about this article or the above video broadcast should be directed to Attorney William R. Moore at One Financial Plaza, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394, or by calling 954-523-5333, or emailing to