Consulting Services for Criminal Attorneys
Jury Selection Support
Texas law recognizes that jury selection is used to uncover information providing the basis for challenges for cause and to allow each side to intelligently exercise peremptory strikes. This is not as easy as asking prospective jurors, “Can you fairly consider the law and facts?” The applicable Texas allows voir dire to inquire into:
- The law applicable to the case
- The punishment range, if the jury has been elected to decide punishment
- Any bias or prejudice that a juror might have impacted their service
- Opinions jurors might have formed about the case based on information from any source
When an attorney has spent months preparing a case it becomes part of our fiber to want to convince anyone that will listen of our client’s position and the client is deserving of a favorable verdict. When you get an array of prospective jurors you also get people with beliefs and value systems that have developed over a lifetime. It is practically impossible for an criminal defense attorney (or anyone) to change a juror’s mind. We believe you should not waste valuable time trying. I know you may ask, “Well then what am I trying to do?”
Instead of trying to change the hearts and minds of the jury, spend your time trying to better understand the people you need to relate to.
Identifying the jurors’ thoughts and beliefs that might have impact on your case is not always clear-cut. You have a short amount of time to get prospective jurors to open up about their emotions and experiences. Not only is your time limited, the nature of jury selection is very intimidating to prospective jurors. If you do not approach jury selection with a thoughtful strategy you are likely going to end up with a jury that is not better than if you just drew names at random. If you need help, get help. Call us. We want to help.
Weave an Appellate Safety-Net
Of course, a criminal defense lawyer never wants to lose at trial. Unfortunately, judges’ rulings do not always go your way. Sometimes the evidence doesn’t go your way either. This means that you or some other lawyer is going to be writing a brief to appeal the case. A trial lawyer should never, ever, EVER take the attitude that, “I am trying the case to win, not to appeal.” This indicates the lawyer has an out-of-check ego or is just plain lazy.
Every case has a legal issue that, if developed properly, is a good argument on appeal. Do not get us wrong… Not every good argument wins on appeal. But you need to give your client a fighting chance. Some lawyers do not handle many appeals. Even those that do can often benefit from a fresh set of eyes looking for legal issues in a case.
Occasionally, we serve as that second set of eyes for a trial team to prepare a case for trial. On other occasions, we serve as second chair to provide support and guidance at trial. As lawyers appealing criminal cases we regularly read and write what the appeals courts are looking for to preserve error. One of the greatest benefits of having a criminal appeals lawyer on your team is often the trial judge senses the danger of ruling against you. This leads to you getting to present more of your case in the way you want to present it.
Mock Trial and Focus Groups
You do not have to have millionaire clients to use mock trials or focus groups to prepare for your trial. With a little bit of organization and ingenuity, you can have an effective mock trial for a few thousand dollars. The Internet makes it easy to reach people willing to participate as mock jurors and group members. Your local colleges provide a source for low-cost assistance in running your mock-trial project. Often office buildings have relatively inexpensive conference or meeting rooms to set up your project. Our office near the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center. We are located at 300 Throckmorton Street # 500, Fort Worth, TX 76102.
We help you hone your presentation to address those issues that can benefit most from a focus group or mock trial. Then we put the presentation together in a way that allows you to make the most effective use of time and other resources.