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Jury Selection: Home

This guide is designed to support the Spring 2017 Jury Selection class taught by Adjunct Prof. Steve Brown

Course Description

                Jury Selection is a “nuts and bolts” introductory course on the preparation for and selection of juries. Emphasis is placed on -- and students will be "hands on involved with" jury de-selection for different types of cases. It is expected there will be one written submission and three oral performances. The written submission will be a proposed jury questionnaire.

Required Materials

The main text for this course is The Art of Advocacy – Jury Selection Copyright 2013  Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. Member of LexisNexis Group (updated in some areas 2015). It is available online at  http://guides.law.fsu.edu/juryselection . There are additional readings at this cite, including a Course Library. There will also be readings in your Course Library on Blackboard, and viewings from You Tube, DVD’s and, just maybe, even excerpts from some famous movies!

Course Objectives

The objectives are: (1) to learn how to most effectively excel at the mechanics of picking a jury while maintaining your ethical and professional credibility; (2)  to learn the thought processes of what questions to ask (or not ask) potential jurors to attempt to determine the likelihood of them being favorable or not favorable; (3)  to consider the differences in desirable jurors in different types of cases; (4) to learn about “jury aids” i.e. questionnaires, investigators, jury consultants; (5) to learn the law that pertains to jury selection; (6) to glean the “secrets learned” from forty years in the judicial/legal world; and (7) to learn what goes on in chambers of the courthouse as it affects your litigation.

Class Format

                This is a “Skills Class”. This course integrates lecture/discussions, demonstrations, and simulated exercises to help you in jury selection preparation, techniques, and skills.  I will assign readings on a various topics, and those topics will be discussed in class.  For many topics, examples will be provided.  Thereafter, you will get a chance to perform these skills in simulated exercises.  This approach provides the underlying theory involved, allows us a chance to discuss particular issues, provides a model for you to observe, and then gives you a chance to practice.

Participation is mandatory. Hopefully this is a class you will want to attend in any event, but merely “showing up” will not suffice. Obviously, to be a trial lawyer you must speak before others … this class will be no exception.

                EACH STUDENT SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR RECRUITING A PERSON TO BE AVILABLE TO SERVE AS A “JUROR” FOR VOIR DIRE EXCERCISES. This will be explained in more detail at the first class.

 

Class Attendance

Attendance is also mandatory. I will not be repeating your text materials and reading assignments in class, so you will not get the full benefit of this course without attending.

In addition, the ABA policy for accrediting law schools require that the Law School take steps to ensure that a student attend at least 80% of classes if he or she is to receive credit for a course. I interpret this to mean 80% of classes after the add/drop period (i.e., you cannot miss more than 3 classes after the add/drop period). In order to monitor attendance, I will circulate a class roster for you to initial. You cannot miss more than 3 classes.

Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.

Grade Criteria

This course is S/U - see bylaws section 4.4. Grades that will be given are, S or U. Regular lack of preparation and/or multiple unexcused absences will result in a grade of U.  You will be evaluated on primarily on your voir dire exercises (25% each). Also, your written submission (Jury Questionnaire) (10%) and your overall class participation (15%) will count.

Book Awards will only be earned by those who are consistently prepared, who understand the assignments, and who perform the best. Questions about what is expected are more than appropriate. “Dumb questions beat the heck out of dumb mistakes”! Ask if there are doubts.

Office Hours

I do not have specific office hours. However, I can be reached via email (stbrown2@fsu.edu) or phone (850-509-8634) and we can talk or I can arrange to meet with you.

Academic Honor Policy

Cheating, plagiarism, or any dishonesty in your work is not tolerated at this university. Please refer to your student handbook for more information about FSU’s academic honor system, and come see me if any part of the code is unclear.

The College of Law’s Student Conduct Code (Section 17)

http://www.law.fsu.edu/docs/defaultsource/academic_rules/academic_rules_policies.pdf?sfvrsn=14 governs the academic conduct of students at the Florida State University College of Law. Students are bound by the College of Law’s Code in all of their academic work. The Code outlines the College of Law’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process.

In addition, the Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “. . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.” (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at (http://fda.fsu.edu/Academics/Academic-Honor-Policy).

Americans with Disabilities Act

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and (2) bring a letter to Nancy Benavides, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, indicating the need for accommodations and what type. This should be done during the first week of class. This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request. For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact Dean Benavides.

Out-of-Class Work Expectations

Law students are expected to spend no less than 2 hours and 20 minutes a week of course-related work outside the classroom for each credit hour awarded for this course. For a 2-credit course, a 3-credit course, and a 4-credit course, students should expect to spend no less than 4 hours and 40 minutes, 7 hours, and 9 hours and 20 minutes, respectively, of course-related work outside the classroom.

Class Participation

You are required to be prepared for class every week and participate in class discussions.

Assignment Requirements

You will be required to turn in a Written Jury Questionnaire. It will be due the 2nd to last class. You will learn more about Jury Questionnaires during the course of the class which will help you prepare to complete this assignment. 

Syllabus Change Policy

Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice. It is subject to some procedural, but not substantive variation depending on the size of the class.

Assigned Readings

The Litigation Manual Introduction; Jury Trials (pages 43-48) (online).

Courtroom Psychology and Trial Advocacy §10.03; (online).

Younger – Jury Selection (pages 39-53) (online)

Read materials in Course Library (Blackboard) re: Cases A, B, and C (when made available).

Text - §1.03-1.05, 1.07, 1.08, 1.09, §1.10, 1.11,§1.12 –1.27, , 2.01, 2.05, 2.06, 2.07 (all online).

Read pages 61-72, 75-89, of The Art of Selecting a Jury (online).  

Read – Additional Materials in Course Library (Blackboard)

Review questionnaire (online).

Read Case Law NOT JUST EXCERPTS  §2.01 (pages 115-131), §2.05 (pages 149-178), §2.06 (pages 185-202), §2.07 (pages 210-224) Pay specific attention to Florida Cases and Federal Cases.

Read “Reaching Out to Jurors” and “Zimmerman Trial” (online).

Read Juror Article in Course Library (Blackboard).

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