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Best Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Leonard comments on day one of Trump jury selection

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Firm News

Best Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Leonard comments on day one of Trump jury selection. Jury selection kicked off on Monday April 15 in State Court in New York in former President Trump’s business fraud case. No jurors were actually selected yesterday.

What was notable was the approach taken by the trial court Judge. Normally, when jurors voice the opinion that they “cannot be fair and impartial,” the trial Judge attempts to explain to the potential jurors such things as the importance of jury service, and then probes the bases for the juror’s opinion/statement that he or she cannot be fair. That further probing of the potential juror is to an attempt to determine, in part, if the individual can in fact be fair and impartial – or is just making such a statement to get out of jury service.

In addition, that probing serves the additional purpose of educating and putting on notice the other jurors that it will not be a simple thing to get out of jury service. Further, some jurors will legitimately change their positions as to their ability to be fair and impartial, not simply because of the subtle pressure applied by the Judge by way of further probing, but because the Judge’s questioning will make them realize that they can in fact be fair – particularly in light of the fact that, despite their preconceived notions of the Defendant or the prosecution’s case, they have not heard any evidence; they will be only deciding the case based upon the evidence; and they will be required to follow the Judge’s Instructions in deciding the case.

However, a common problem that arises is that many jurors go along with the Judge’s attempts to “rehabilitate” them, and thus agree that they can in fact be fair and impartial – even if that is not really the case.

In any event, at the Trump trial, the Judge has so far allowed potential jurors to be excused merely by claiming that they cannot be fair and impartial. One of the reasons the Judge can do so in this case is that they “pool” of potential jurors is large. Conversely, in many cases, the Judge does not have the luxury of such a large pool of potential jurors. Accordingly, he or she may be more cognizant of the need to get a jury picked from the panel of jurors that is in the courtroom.

It will be interesting to watch whether the trial Judge in the Trump case continues to allow jurors to so easily get out of jury service. Moreover, based upon the jurisdiction, it would at least appear that a large number of jurors being excused are those who cannot be fair to former President Trump. The dismissal of a large number of persons who hold negative views towards Trump may result in a more pro-Trump jury. Stay tuned.

Michael Leonard

Leonard Trial Lawyers

April 16, 2024