Whether your jury trial is happening in person or virtually, chances are COVID has had a profound impact on your case before either side gives Opening Statements.
In a recent story by Westlaw’s Jenna Greene, she spoke with several jury consultants (including me) about the effect the pandemic has had on jurors. I told her that when I worked on two of the handful of in-person trials that have happened during the pandemic, “the judges dismissed would-be jurors who said they were afraid that jury service would expose them to COVID-19.”
These jurors were dismissed because judges did not want jurors to carry that anxiety and fear into an already stressful trial. So it was not just an act of respect for the jurors; it was also an effort to ensure jurors would be able to focus on the evidence and not be distracted by their (well-founded) health concerns.
A reasonable step, but one that has much wider ramifications, as the story explains:
Miller has found that “the folks who are less concerned, the ones who view (COVID) as ‘nothing more than the flu,’ tend to be fiscally conservative and in favor of less government.” She added, “Those issues right there alone tend to favor defendants.”
At the same time, she said, people who “are more fearful of COVID” often come from minority groups (and for good reason, considering their higher death rates) and tend to be more left-leaning on the political spectrum, Miller said. Of course, she said, this was a generalization and plenty of exceptions exist.
You can read the full story here.
If you’re preparing for trial, or even if you’re in the preliminary stages of litigation, CourtroomLogic has a suite of socially distant services that can keep you and your clients safe and healthy, and your case moving toward resolution.
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 824-4115 for a consultation.