"Voir Dire is Scary (This is the Truth)": Nelson Tyrone Published in Verdict Magazine, Part I
In this year's fall edition of Verdict Magazine, the journal for the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Nelson Tyrone of Tyrone Law firm wrote and published an article about the challenges of voir dire, the process by which potential jurors are questioned on various matters before being chosen to sit on a jury for trial.
Mr. Tyrone begins by detailing what he must accomplish in voir dire, such as establishing his credibility to the jurors, learning about the jurors' value systems, previewing his case in chief, and probing jurors' biases--all while getting jurors to trust him, the counsel for trial. There is an "inherent tension" between these varying goals, Mr. Tyrone says, and he then narrates how to navigate these tensions. Often, this can lead attorneys conducting voir dire to ask loaded questions "that have been crafted . . . to inject their side's theory or theme of the case before the jury." An example among the many listed: "Does anyone believe that jus because you have had back surgery in your life that you shouldn't be compensated if someone crashes their car into you?" The problem with questions such as these is that they are not likely to reveal anything meaningful about any of the potential jurors, and moreover, they make the attorney appear like a salesman. As Mr. Tyrone asks, "Isn't that what regular people think that trial lawyers do?"
Such results are not ideal when voir dire is "the first and most important opportunity to create a relationship with the juror[s]," who will eventually go on to decide whether the attorney's client succeeds in the case at hand. To do this, Mr. Tyrone suggests "creating a group," primarily by acting in contrast to what every day, non-attorney citizens would expect from a lawyer. Conduct leading to this result consists of listening to the group "in an open, human discussion" without any intent of "leading" the group to any particular conclusion (to combat the idea that attorneys have an agenda with the group); of not judging the jurors or cross-examining them (to combat the idea that attorneys judge jurors for unpopular views); and of telling the entire truth (to combat the idea that attorneys will "advocate" by lying for their clients). "In short," Mr. Tyrone writes, "we must treat each member of the group with honest respect whether we agree with them or not."
If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury due to another person's negligence, call us for help. We will talk to you and review your case for free. The Tyrone Law Firm specializes in representing those who have suffered a devastating injury, such as birth injuries or traumatic brain injury resulting from the negligence of another. Our personal injury firm here in Atlanta has a very successful record of trying such cases.
Nelson Tyrone handles Brain Injury, Spine Injury and RSD/CRPS cases throughout the United States. He involves only the top medical, rehabilitation and life-care plan experts in the field. His results on behalf of clients include several of the largest settlements and verdicts on record.
You can reach us at 404-377-0017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we can't help you, we will do our best to put you into the hands of lawyers who can.
To read the full piece, please visit the digital edition of the Fall 2014 Verdict - The Trial Skills Issue by clicking on the link.