(Court of Appeals of New York) - Conviction for manslaughter is reversed where the trial court abused its discretion by prohibiting defense counsel from questioning prospective jurors about their views on involuntary confessions.
(Court of Appeals of New York) This appeal requires us to consider whether skin color of a prospective juror is a cognizable classification upon which a challenge to a prosecutor's use of peremptory strikes under Batson v Kentucky (476 US 79 ) may be based. We recognize the existence of discrimination on the basis of one's skin color, and acknowledge that under this State's Constitution and Civil Rights Law, color is a classification upon which a Batson challenge may be lodged. The courts below held that defendant failed to make a prima facie showing of discrimination when he challenged the prosecutor's use of peremptory strikes to exclude dark-colored women. We find this was error, and therefore reverse...
The hallmark of the corporate form is its limited liability, which ensures that a judgment recovered against a corporation generally cannot be enforced against its shareholders. But 'generally' is an important qualifier. When the corporate form is used to commit fraud and the corporation has no assets to satisfy a judgment, a creditor may "pierce the corporate veil" and hold otherwise immune shareholders personally liable for the corporation's debts...
Modern jury selection is pulled in two directions. Equal protection prohibits racial discrimination, but the traditional peremptory strike permits exclusion of a juror without explanation. To reconcile this tension, the Court developed the Batson framework, requiring lawyers to articulate ex post race-neutral justifications for suspicious strikes. But many doubt Batson’s efficacy at uncovering latent discrimination. Last term, while recognizing a Batson violation in Foster v. Chatman, the Supreme Court counter-intuitively reinforced this concern. Foster is the rare case in which prosecutors documented in writing their reliance on race. A framework that depends on such transparency is weak and ineffective. And the systemic persistence of discrimination, three decades after Batson was decided, has convinced many that the only solution is to eliminate peremptory strikes in their entirety.
In this article, I offer an alternative strategy. I introduce a new mechanism to reform – but not entirely eliminate – the system of peremptory challenges: the “hybrid jury strike.” Hybrid strikes would fall in between traditional peremptory challenges, which may be exercised at the party’s discretion, and challenges for cause, which may be granted only upon an adequate showing of the juror’s bias or other basis for disqualification. Hybrid strikes would require ex ante justification but not a conclusive showing of bias; they could be used to exclude a set number of jurors who survived non-pretextual and meaningful cause challenges. Hybrid strikes could replace traditional peremptories wholesale or could be leveraged asymmetrically – such as by preserving traditional peremptories for the defense while permitting only hybrid strikes for the prosecution.
Hybrid strikes offer an intermediate approach between the status quo and complete abolition of peremptory challenges. They would meaningfully curtail discrimination while preserving the most legitimate function of peremptory challenges: to foster jury impartiality by providing a buffer zone for cause challenges when evidence of bias is credible but insufficient or when judges erroneously reject them.
Richard Gabriel takes a close look at the new television show 'Bull' and muses about how the show does and does not represent reality as well as how it may effect perceptions of the justice system by potential jurors (who do watch TV).
Rebecca Valez, Tess M.S. Neal, and Margaret Bull Kovera team up to offer a primer on persuasion. What modes of persuasion will work best in the testimony of your expert witness? Then we have trial consultant responses from Jennifer Cox and Stan Brodsky, John Gilleland, and Elaine Lewis and a final reply from the authors.
Andrew Luttrell offers this intriguing strategy (based on his research) to make attitudes stronger and more influential. Trial consultants Sonia Chopra and Charli Morris react to his work with commentary on how they would use this research in day-to-day litigation advocacy.
They are always present and always silent. But what is going on in the minds of those dutiful court reporters as they type everything said in cases ranging from the mundane to the traumatizing? Claire E. Moore, Stanley L. Brodsky, and David Sams talk to court reporters and share their perspectives and coping strategies.
Mykol Hamilton and Kate Zephyrhawke share how to uncover bias in change of venue surveys in criminal cases by using alternate wording for time-honored questions that result in very different answers (and higher bias).
We have been tweaking the website ("we" means Brian Patterson in this instance) to streamline publishing and continue to bring you The Jury Expert. And we are back! Lots of content in this issue as you can see above. Settle in, relax, and sharpen your litigation advocacy skills!
MILWAUKEE — A juror's posts on Facebook during a federal civil rights trial he was hearing could jeopardize a nearly $2 million verdict awarded to a man who claimed he was illegally strip searched by a former Milwaukee police officer....
The article below provides interesting insight on the reason Oregon and Louisiana allow non-unanimous jury verdicts. According to the article, the original intent behind permitting non-unanimous verdicts was to increase the likelihood of convictions and limit the impact of minorities serving on juries.
The presumption of innocence explicitly forbids jurors from using official suspicion or indictment as evidence of guilt in a criminal trial. A behavioral experiment tested whether jurors follow this prescription. It revealed that, compared to when an individual had been merely named, jurors thought the individual was significantly more likely to be guilty after a detective referred the case to the district attorney, and when the individual was formally charged and thus a criminal defendant. A judicial instruction to presume innocence reduced jurors’ beliefs about the defendant’s guilt. Regression analyses indicated that jurors’ priors predicted their posteriors, and further that their priors were predictive of verdicts even after accounting for their posteriors. The findings suggest that jurors make different assumptions about the guilt of a criminal defendant prior to the introduction of evidence, and that these assumptions influence their overall evaluation of the case as well as their verdict.