Thursday, April 05, 2007

Picking a jury in federal court

This week, lawyers have begun jury selection in the Kenneth Wilk case. The Sun-Sentinel has coverage here. And jury selection started and was completed yesterday in the baseball smuggling case in Key West. The Miami Herald covers that story here. On the 16th, the Padilla trial gets up and running with voir dire.

Jury selection in Padilla and Wilk will take days, which is not the norm in federal court. Typically, as was the case in the Keys, jury selection in federal court lasts less than a day and sometimes less than a half a day. Lawyers are lucky to get 15 minutes a side to conduct voir dire.



Anonymous said...

Coming from state practice where both sides get meaningful voi dire, the fed practice looks like, and is, a joke.

Seeing it makes me sick and I would love for somebody to explain how the practice is not what it appears to be: something that prevents defense lawyers from evening a already tilted playing field by removing jurors with bias.

Anonymous said...

Two "state court" lawyers were picking a jury until late thursday night on a nasty death case before your friend Judge Thomas. Laeser talked for 6 hours and Rosenberg for about 4.

Anonymous said...

State Court Voir Dire is a pathetic joke and so clearly an extended arguemt as to be beneath Federal Court. I've always thought we should just shuffle the decks and pick the first twelve and let truth and justice do the rest. Let's just stick to the stautory questions and a couple more, if we must, but no more.

Anonymous said...

Two things can be learned from the 7:06 a.m. post:

1) AUSAs still get to work early so they can leave by 4:00, and,

2) AUSAs don't ever want a fair trial.

It is this "it is not unfair because the law allows it" mentality that is destroying our justice system.

Anonymous said...

9:03, you (as the obvious rabid "true believer" defense type that you clearly are)as is the norm for your ilk turn things on their head. Why don't you be honest, the last thing you ever want is an impartial jury. Anyone who's spent any time practicing in the criminal justice system knows that what you always try to do is get rid of all of the smart thinking jurors and get people on the petit jury who you can bamboozle and bs into forgetting about the actual facts of a given case. Because, again as we all know, if the jurors actually focus on the relevant facts of a case and get beyond the smokescreens and other irrelevant stuff you try to peddle to them you lose. One last matter, your cheap shots lobbed at the federal system and federal prosecutors are lame and tiresome. All they really tell me is that you have a really severe case of federal envy.

Anonymous said...

10:26: I came from state court, as a prosecutor, and am by no means a "true believer."

Actually, you have it backwards. The federal system leaves me with State Court Envy: Without treatment, this condition causes those suffereing from it to become, and as you have astutely noticed, hostile towards US government prosecutors.

I suggest you speak with Abe Laser, or other respected state court prosecutors and ask them what a meaningful voi dire accomplishes. Then you will realize, that there are many people that are preconditioned to vote for the government and there are fewer that are preconditioned to vote for the defense; last time I checked, preemptories are there to make sure none of those people make the jury (unless you use them to kick minorities off the jury as many of your colleages do).

I have personally spoken to several state attorneys that are astonished at the advantages the federal system allows prosecutors. They, like me, always felt that justice was served at the end of a trial resulting in conviction because the defendant was given a truly fair trial.

Tell me, when you go home at night after "shooting ducks in a barral" and winning a case, do you feel good because the defendant got a fair shake, or do you relish the fact that you put somebody you think is bad, away for a long time?

Seems to me like you have a classic "God Complex." It must be tough going through life always feeling like you know the truth about who is good and who is bad.

Tell me, when was the last time you witheld evidence from the defense because you thought up all kinds of creative arguments as to why it was not Brady or Giglio? Don't lie now. You know that daily your colleagues struggle to make those distinctions to further gain advantages in trial. Are you trully proud to be involved in a system that encourages its actors to make summaries of interviews of informants, rather than tape them, so that there is nothing to produce? Or, a system that promotes similar tactics by law enforcement officers, so that the defense has less to work with at trial? IF that is the case, then you my friend, are a "true believer." It is unfortunate that you just can't admit what it is you really believe in.

Anonymous said...

Yo Spicoli! Why you staying out of the fun here. Looks like tempertures are a risin! Hey, these guys could use a dip in the pool ha? I can see the girls are having a good time out there.


Rumpole said...

State Court voire dire is meaningful. The person who wrote that it is an extended argument is partially correct- with the wrong (read weak or inexperienced) Judge- it does become an argument. But having picked over 100 state court juries leaves me with this experience- sometimes it takes hours before a Jurror raises their hand and says something like "I've been think about this for awhile now. I don't think I can be fair because...."
When I pick a federal jury, I worry how many of those people have slipped through. That being said, the door swings both ways, and I have seen federal prosecutors astonished at a not guilty, because they didn't realize just who was on the jury. Having picked so many state juries gives me an advantage over the feds who in my view, are used to having their successes spoon fed to them.

Rumpole said...

that should read "thinking about this" I should know better than to try and write something meaningful after drinking Jack Daniels.

Spicoli said...

Aloha Mr. Hand!

Thought Mr. Hand would make an appearance! Cool.

State Court Voir Dire: One great GIG. If you know how to play the show, with a careful mix of humor and getting to know the folks, the odds of winning go up dramatically regardless of how bad the facts are. Truth is, voir dire is just that. A "gig." Gotta work the room and have something you would want to see and hear if you are a juror. Give me your dry Law and Order Prosecutor. One joke. Just give me one good one. "Make 'em laugh" to start and hammer "follow the law" in closing. Set 'em up and knock 'em down.

Federal Court: Brevity is the soul of wit (ignore above). Yes the playing field is on tilt, but I love it. Witnesses showing up outta no where. Cross in the dark. These are a few of my favoite things. I like my edge. The underdog role. Me against the monolitithic government without a pulse who all work with G.W. and hunt with Cheney. That's how you play that gig. Hopefully get a juror to raise the AUSA firing issue now with a little bait and an obscure joke to trigger the discussion.

Yes, words from a State Dweller Dude like me. But, I've been there enough to know that I felt overmatched and worked it to my advantage the few times I've had cases there. America loves an underdog. When talking to the judges, I find letting them know my inexperience helps too. Just a different forum. A court. Like dunking when possible on both.

Aloha Brad. Respect--Res Ipsa Loquitor.

spicoli said...

Sorry for the typo. "Humour!"

I feel like the dancing bear act following the appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Anonymous said...

The Padilla jury pool had to fill out a questionaire with about 130 items, and prospective jurors were told the trial could last more than five months.

Write In.. said...

Judge Marty Bidwell. Simply brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Rumpoles in trouble?

Brad said...


You said it. I was up late last night pulling down caselaw to prepare to defend Rumpole. Together, we can help from the background...


Anonymous said...

Honestly guys all McGuillis was asking is for Rumpole to take down the libel. Rumpole not only did not take down the libel he promoted it further by mocking his private email request.

If I was McGuillis and had attempted to settle with John Doe and he continued to not comply I would have to think about taking action?

Lets look at it from both side.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole you are paranoid. Annouce who you are. David has no problem letting the world know this is his blog.

If you are so tuff annouce who you are and lets see if McGuillis files papers against you. Don't be punked by this guy.

Anonymous said...

dude you really need to re-read what you wrote and seek professional help.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole at home relaxing:

j said...

How is ripping on Rumpole [on this blog] any better than what you claim Rumpole did to you?

Listen to Spicoli: relax a bit.

Let's get back to what this blog is about and stop the foolishness.


Anonymous said...

Rumpole is in trouble. He is attacking a pro-se litigant who has cancer.

Spicoli said...

I wonder who.

I'll assume it's the fellow I called out earlier. I just don't understand why he's the nickname for Richard with everyone.

The discourse should turn into far more important matters like you pointed out -- Birkheeeeeeeed. Such a big heeeeeeeeeeeed. Not as big as McBigheeeeeeeeed's heeeeeed. What a maroone.