"Voir Dire is Scary (This is the Truth)": Nelson Tyrone Published in Verdict Magazine, Part II
Last month, we announced that Verdict Magazine, journal for the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, had published an article written by Nelson Tyrone of Tyrone Law Firm. That post summarized the first half of the article, which discusses the challenges attorneys face during voir dire, the process by which potential jurors for a trial are selected. Today, we explain the second half of the article.
In the second half, Mr. Tyrone introduces what he calls the "Danger Point," which he defines as "an issue we are afraid of, that weakens our case, that the other side will take advantage of, or that speaks to prejudices we know exist with the jurors." One of the keys to a successful voir dire is to recognize the Danger Point--of which at least one exists in every case--and be honest about it. For instance, Mr. Tyrone says, if the attorney's case involves the killing of a child, the Danger Point there is that the attorney is seeking money for the death of a child, which some members of the venire might find morally objectionable, or "un-Christian, un-American . . . [j]ust wrong."
To discuss Danger Points openly, Mr. Tyrone says, we must "show ours first." "To become members of the group," Mr. Tyrone explains, "we are often required to accept positions antithetical to our own. In an example, Mr. Tyrone details how he represented a client who developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in a "hot coffee" case after being burned by a coffee machine at a QuikTrip store. He immediately revealed his Danger Point, relating his case to the classic McDonald's "hot coffee" case, and identified outright that he knew the lawsuit would seem ridiculous to some of the members of the venire. Some members laughed, while others made negative comments, to which Mr. Tyorne responded, "I appreciate your honesty. It is scary for me--and for my client to hear someone say that. But I am sure you are not alone." The case received one of the largest RSD verdicts in the state, partially because Mr. Tyrone made voir dire a place where the members of the venire felt safe sharing their true thoughts on the case at hand.
Finally, Mr. Tyrone mentions the asking of factual questions, which he says are important in making an intelligent decision regarding the juror. But more importantly, attorneys must understand how to relate to a prospective juror so that they may form a cohesive group. "If I have been honest with the jury, if I have not run from them, and if I have acted like a person and not a lawyer at this, our first meeting," Mr. Tyrone concludes, "I feel that I have a better chance at being part of the group and that they will walk out with my client and me."
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 email@example.com. 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.