Jury Investigation Basic Service
DecisionsWon conducts a thorough investigation of the actual jury panel; including, but not limited to criminal and civil checks. The civil background is to determine any litigation the juror may have been involved in the past.
The criminal checks are performed to determine the character of the juror. Additional investigation may include:
Next, a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of each juror is conducted. Items taken into consideration include,
- Type of case being tried (issues & facts surrounding case);
- Parties involved;
- Key witnesses;
- The attorneys involved;
- Evidence to be presented; and
- Jury backgrounds and profiles.
First impressions can sway the way we feel about a juror. A jury chart is prepared to eliminate any second-guessing of the previous evaluation of a juror based on the investigations and analysis. The chart helps keep everyone “on track” in recalling those jurors who have been identified as potential strikes.
DecisionsWon will draft voir dire questions in an effort to eliminate unfavorable jurors. Questions are based on the specific facts and evidence in the case.
Assist with Jury Voir Dire: DecisionsWon provides assistance with and suggestions for jury voir dire, with the primary focus being jury “de-selection”. First, jurors are placed into categories which identify their leadership skills. Next, efforts are centered on removing unfavorable jurors (with leaders being the priority), preferably through judicial challenge for cause then preemptory challenge. At the same time, significant effort is made to avoid exposing favorable jurors. This is all done through effective voir dire strategy and questioning. If those efforts fail, peremptory challenges must be made. In the case where multiple "unfavorable" jurors are identified, they are prioritized into bad - worst categories.
Assist & Attend Jury Selection: Finally, assisting with the jury selection process by observing and notating juror responses. Original evaluations or ratings of the jurors are modified based on their responses to questions, body language, and their ability or inability to communicate comfortably with parties. Finally, assist with final jury selection (the “chess game” as often described) which moves quickly and the ability to foresee strikes from other parties is critical.
A mock trial is designed to mirror an actual jury trial to allow testing of trial evidence and arguments for both sides. Individual or multiple panels of 6-12 jurors may be used; multiple panels allow more extensive feedback. Depending on case complexity, mock trials can be presented in 1 day or multiple days.
Participants are recruited using a variety of methods and then screened using appropriate criteria to best replicate a community cross section. The screening process also ensures participants would otherwise qualify to sit in the actual jury trial.
Prior to the presentation of evidence, jurors are asked to complete a short baseline questionnaire. Questions are asked regarding their personal opinions relating to the issues to be presented that day. The survey will be tailored to the client’s case and help identify the profile of jurors most unfavorable to the client.
Mock trials provide for longer and more detailed presentation and arguments by the attorneys with more elaborate presentation of exhibits such as power point presentations, presentation of witness via video-taped depositions, or in-person. In addition, jurors are provided with more detailed jury instructions.
Jurors are required to complete questionnaires following each presentation. By completing questionnaires after each presentation, we are able to uncover trends in jurors’ evaluation of the case. These individual questionnaires help to expose the true opinions of jurors prior to influence by fellow jurors in deliberations.
In the case where witnesses are presented to the jurors, evaluation of the witnesses is permitted through written requests.
In a mock trial, jurors will deliberate and reach a unanimous decision as to each element of the verdict, i.e., a unanimous decision on negligence, a unanimous decision on causation, and a unanimous decision on EACH element of damages. After extended debate (as in a real deliberation process), if it becomes apparent a unanimous decision is not likely to occur, jurors may be asked to move on to the next issue. DecisionsWon facilitator is present with jurors to facilitate a smooth deliberation process.
In a mock trial, attorneys & clients will observe jurors’ deliberation through closed-circuit television monitors from a separate room in real-time. This process allows attorneys to watch the deliberation process firsthand and witness how and why the jury arrived at their decision.
Focus groups are typically conducted using an informal round-table discussion. The event will be primarily facilitator-driven with interview of jury-eligible participants in a round-table format. Issues and evidence or facts are discussed in detail and participants are allowed to intimately examine exhibits. These processes are typically best used early in the litigation process to test how jurors may perceive various aspects of the case. Additionally, these processes are helpful when the complexity of the case makes it difficult to present the entire case in a short time line. Focus groups are extremely flexible and can be designed to meet any research need. Because information is presented in segments, it is possible to address a number of issues in a single day.
Benefits this process provides
DecisionsWon offers a wide range of services based on over 30 years of trial and courtroom experience.
POST TRIAL INTERVIEWS
Following a trial DecisionsWon can assist with developing appropriate questions and conducting telephone, mail, or in-person interviews of the jury based on the specific details of your trial. If the case may be retried, or if clients may try other cases involving the same client or similar issues, post-trial interviews are extremely helpful. Jurors provide extremely helpful feedback about:
Shadow jurors are qualified citizens recruited for the purpose of observing the trial from a lay person’s perspective.
Shadow jurors attend trial at the same time actual jurors do. They are instructed to follow the same rules provided to the actual jurors. DecisionsWon provides a moderator for the trial who guides shadow jurors throughout the day. DecisionsWon conducts a nightly debriefing of the shadow jurors and provides this feedback to counsel. Jurors are never told who they are working for in an effort to maintain objectivity.
Insights & advantages gained
Duties of DecisionsWon, LLC
Informal in-person group polling can include anywhere from 30 to 100 participants.
Read a statement of case with additional facts (1-hour presentation).
Any number of participants can be used and would be determined by counsel and consultant.