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Federal Trial – Jury Selection

This article outlines a recommended approach for a Federal Trial Jury Selection in which there is little to any information on jurors obtained in advance and where the court restricts attorney Voir Dire and the only inquiry of the jury is done by the court. In this scenario, case setup and team roles are critical.

You are encouraged to request leave of the court to submit a proposed juror questionnaire.  Attached is a sample.

TEAM

Team preparation is critical to act quickly due to limited Voir Dire time.

Because the court will be asking the questions, we recommend filing proposed Voir Dire questions, if possible, that center around leadership (profession and education) and those that gauge general and case-specific attitudes. We recommend the team focus on capturing those inputs for initial scoring and track responses in VD as jurors answer questions. This setup leverages more of the management suite of tools.  

Some suggested Voir Dire questions include:

Leadership Questions

  1. What is your current profession?
  2. Have you ever supervised anyone at work or held a position of leadership in a civic group, or organization? If so, what is the greatest number of people supervised and what was your title?
  3. What is your highest level of education and degree or certificate, including trade schools? And what was your area of study or major?
  4. How many of you have worked in the legal field in any capacity, including serving previously as a juror and/or foreperson?
  5. Have you ever served in the military? If so, what was your highest rank and how long were you in service?

Generic Attitudinal Questions

  1. How many of you feel that there is a significant problem of abuse in the civil justice system and that people are abusing the system to make money?
  2. How many of you felt a little uneasy about the merits of this case or the person bringing it when you heard the statement of the case?
  3. How many of you feel that lawyers are a big part of the problem within the civil justice system? They advertise for cases in a way that promotes a significant number of people to file lawsuits that have little or no merit.

CASE SETUP

This approach requires more setup in advance to ensure minimal setup in the courtroom. Things to prepare ahead of time include:

  • Juror Management
    • Pre-load the number of jurors that will be called that day. For example, if there will be 18, Add 18 Jurors as placeholders (rows) to then populate the background information in court.
    • Predetermine based on the sequential order, which team member(s) will be conducting backgrounds on which juror. Having multiple people work on the same jurors will override the data so make sure to divide up jurors and input data accordingly.
  • Seating Chart
    • Set up the seating chart of the courtroom ahead of time and populate it with the blank avatars of the jurors. You can do this although you do not have juror names yet. Check the ‘Show Juror Info’ box at the top so juror names are automatically populated as soon as they are entered.
  • Voir Dire
    • Set up your Voir Dire ahead of time based on the approved questions and know which team member will be supporting you.
    • Add placeholder questions in Configure VD to track responses to questions you don’t know the judge will be asking
    • Discuss and be clear on team roles. Which team member will be marking who answered the question, bias button, cause, etc.? Who’s tracking notes? A clear set up on who will be doing what in Voir Dire goes a long way.
  • Final Jury Selection
    • Set up the number of jurors and alternates in the panel, and the number of strikes ahead of time. With limited time, it is important to maximize all the upfront prep time as needed.

LIVE TRIAL

Depending on how you have carved out team roles, below are some possible scenarios.

Juror Backgrounds

  • Once you get the list of juror names, have 1 person input all First and Last Names in Juror Management in the correct Seat Order.
  • Divide up questionnaires by backgrounds team and begin entering profession/supervisory and education information first for assigned jurors. Once done, go back and enter supplemental information including social media if there is time.

Seating

  • This can happen simultaneously to Juror Backgrounds – Case Admin creates the seating chart and numbers the seats. Show Juror Info box must be checked so that the jurors populate in the seating chart.

Voir Dire

  • Dividing team roles and being very specific about each role is critical here. There are a few ways to do this:

Scenario A (3 Users)

  • User A marks bubbles (green tiles) for hands raised to questions, clicks the Bias button for biased responses and marks jurors for cause by clicking the Cause Targets
  • User B records notes for jurors 1-10, User C records notes for jurors 11-20
    • Jurors can be divided in any way that is most convenient – for example, consecutive numbers, odds and evens, or rows seated

Scenario B (2 Users)

  • User A marks bubbles (green tiles) for raised hands to questions, clicks the bias button, and click on the Cause Targets
  • User B tracks notes

Scenario C (2 Users)

  • User A marks bubbles (green tiles) for raised hands, bias button, cause targets, and notes for specified numbered jurors
  • User B marks bubbles (green tiles) for raised hands, bias button, cause targets, and notes for specified numbered jurors

Virtual Focus Groups

Virtual focus groups are on the rise. The need to go virtual across the legal community has been trending the past few months due to the Pandemic from depositions to mediations, and now with our very own new feature.

Momus Analytics is now offering Virtual Focus Groups. Our team has already hosted multiple virtual focus groups nationally with record-breaking results. Momus Analytics will coordinate, recruit participants, moderate, and help you unlock insights in preparation for your trial.


Manage Juror Groups

The Manage Juror Groups feature allows you to add multiple juror groups and create multiple seating charts. With this feature, you will be able to run Voir Dire for each juror group separately using each group’s distinct seating chart. You will also be able to move jurors from one group to another and merge groups as needed.

You must be a CASE ADMIN to access this feature. To use this feature, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the MANAGE JUROR GROUPS button on the top toolbar. This button will be accessible from any page within your case.
  2. Click the +NEW JUROR GROUP button to create a new juror group, and assign a name to the group.
  3. All jurors by default will be moved into a group named ‘Jury Pool’. Use the checkboxes and arrows to push jurors from the Jury Pool into the newly created group.
  4. Close the MANAGE JUROR GROUPS box using the X at the upper right corner. The page will refresh, and you will now see the newly created groups and Jury Pool in the left navigation bar under Juror Management, Seating and Voir Dire.

With this feature, you will also be able to Merge groups, Continue Numbering seat/order numbers from the previous group, Reorder groups.

Enter a name for the newly merged group, select groups to merge, and click Save.

When creating an additional new group, select the checkbox ‘Continue numbering from the previous group’ to continue the Seat/Order number consecutively from the previous group.

Drag and drop the groups into order needed.

Categorizing Risk Factors

Each risk factor is comprised of a multitude of Facebook groups that have been categorized under it. The more Facebook groups applied to a risk factor, the easier and more automated the job will be for those running backgrounds. You will now be able to apply Facebook groups to a specific risk factor when running backgrounds.

Once a Facebook profile has been linked to a juror, the software will scrape the profile if it is public and display the “likes” on the Juror Profile page. Users can then use the pen icon to select individual likes and assign them to a risk factor. Once a risk factor is selected, the software will toggle the switch for that risk factor and trigger scoring on that specific case.

This will save time during the background portion as you will not have to categorize the same likes twice. The Facebook groups that you have categorized will then go to the Momus Team for approval in order to be saved and applied to all future cases.


Voir Dire & Cause Seminar Presentation

The Only Things That Matter:
1) Identifying Leaders &
2) Getting PRs Off for Cause or Getting Them to Show Their Face

Jurors need to be mentally prepared to show themselves.

  • Types of PR Jurors (PRs that want to tell u, PRs that need a nudge, PRs that are hiding, PRs too shy to talk)
  • Create a safe space for the hate. (Variations of the Law Can’t Tell You How to Feel)
  • Dealing with an interfering judge. (Embrace & Contrast )

Stand and Deliver the Attitudinal Questions, the way they are designed.

  • Don’t weaken or water it down the Q.
  • Watch your PRs reaction to Qs (on the seating chart)
  • Acknowledge the hate, Embrace it and Celebrate it.

You have lost a big opportunity if you can’t get them off for Cause.

  • Doing it right takes advocacy skills, but for some reason, it’s our biggest weakness.
  • You’re not in the saving juror game.
  • Don’t keep talking yourself out of a cause response, (Not about hearing yourself talk).
  • You can’t take the first answer that they can be fair.
  • Follow-ups are Key. Don’t give up

Be Mentally Prepared for a Different Type of VD Experience.

  • Understanding the goal is not to get them to like you.
  • You need to build up mental toughness and tolerance. It’s much more physically draining than you think.

Practice, Practice, Practice.

  • You can’t get proficient by trying to execute this method for the first-time during VD.
  • Momus Analytics has the free Mock Trial feature to practice.
  • Don’t be cheap & lazy

Perfecting the Cause Challenge

  1. Ask: Tell me how you feel?
  2. Let them talk! Do NOT interrupt. Let them dig the hole.
  3. Write Down Key Words &Phrases.
  4. Ask: Are those strong feelings?
  5. Ask: Have you felt this way for a while.
  6. Ask a variation of: You are not saying this to get out of jury duty, you honestly feel this way?
  7. Acknowledge the Courage of the hate: I want to thank you for raising your hand. That took courage. The system is working today because Ms. Jones is being… let them finish the sentence.
  8. Ask: Ms. Jones you could understand why I would be of concern
  9. Ask: Ms.Jones given that you feel that (fill in the Key Words & Phrases) would you agree that you have a reasonable doubt on whether you could be impartial in this type of case? In all honesty?
  10. Thank them for their honesty, (One down and more to go)

Follow-Ups (In All Honesty)

  • If you were me, would you want yourself as a juror in this case?
  • From what you told us, you would agree there is at least a slight doubt in your mind about being impartial in a case like this?
  • Do you have a doubt even if it is in the SLIGHTEST way?
  • Given the honest feelings you expressed, do you think you would be better suited for another type of case, like a contract dispute?
  • You express some negative feelings about these types of cases.
    • Do you have any negative feelings against the defendant?
    • Thinking about it this way, you have negative feelings about these types of cases but you don’t have negative feelings about the defendant.
    • Would you agree that we are starting off a step behind?

Inoculation-(The Ones Left standing)

Mr/Ms__, you have heard your fellow jurors expressed their opinions about these types of cases. My question is do you have ANY negative feelings about these types of lawsuits, even in the slightest of way?


Can you be fair?


Can you give my client a fair trial?


Can you give the defendants) a fair trial?


Are you completely Neutral?


Training Course Offerings

We have formalized our course offerings to make it easier for users to select a session that fits their specific needs.


Random Jury Mode

There’s a new ‘Random Jury Selection’ method that is becoming popular amongst several judges in Florida. To account for this, we’ve added a ‘Random Jury Selection Mode’ to provide users with more flexibility in the event that they find themselves picking a jury with one of these judges.

You may activate Random Jury Mode by ticking the Random Jury box in the upper left corner. 

Rather than segmenting the final panel by order number and having jurors slide up sequentially as jurors are dismissed, the random mode allows you to type in the name of the random jurors selected by the judge, and exercise your cause challenges and peremptories accordingly.


Video Tutorials

These video tutorials will walk you through the flow of Momus, from creating a case through Voir Dire and into Final Jury Selection. Each video highlights product features and guides you through the modules that have been built into the system.

Creating a Case

This video will teach Firm Admins how to create new cases, and assign users and permissions respectively to each case. 

Configure Voir Dire

This video will show Case Admins how to build their Voir Dire outline and customize it by adding, removing, and reordering questions.

Juror Management

This video will walk you through how to input all juror information, run backgrounds, and conduct social media searches. All Juror information in Juror Management will flow downstream into Seating, Voir Dire, and Final Jury Selection.

Seating

This video will show you how to replicate the juror seating in the courtroom.

Voir Dire

This video will demonstrate how to swiftly move through your customized Voir Dire outline while tracking juror responses and marking for Cause during Plaintiff and Defense Voir Dire.

Final Jury Selection

In this video, you will see how to run different scenarios to allocate cause challenges and strikes in order to anticipate and plan against any likely event. Once it’s time to pick the final jury, watch as we run through cause challenges and strikes smoothly while dismissing jurors real-time and see our panel updating automatically.