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Jurors, Elephants and Donkeys December 19, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law.
Tags: , ,

The Wisconsin Lawyer Magazine has a quick read entitled Politics in Civil Jury Selection.  Very interesting.

This is one of the more important parts of my job.  Who should I keep on a jury?  What questions do I ask in order to figure out who would make a good juror for a particular set of facts. Who will the defense want to keep or strike?

Alan Tuerkheimer, UW Law 2000, is a trial consultant with Zagnoli McEvoy Foley, LLC in Chicago.  The Zagnoli firm conducted a survey of mock jurors in order to determine a relationship between political party identification and damages verdicts.

Some sections that I found interesting:

The Zagnoli study found that while political leaning tends to correlate with what jurors say about damages in civil cases, it does not predict whether or how much they actually award. In other words, political leaning is related to what a juror says but not necessarily to what a juror does; thus, political party allegiance should not be too heavily relied on during jury selection.

More specifically, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to make an at fault person pay damage awards for future medical expenses.

A closer look shows that a high proportion of Democrats (86 percent), but an even higher proportion of Republicans (92 percent), would consider awarding money for future medical expenses.

Finally, when it comes to the premise of awarding punitive damages both parties were high.  Again, like I assumed Democrats were more likely to agree (92 percent agreed) but I was a little surprised that so many Republicans agreed (80 percent agreed).

I recommend the article.  I ask this of my readers.  If anyone finds similar articles about jury selection please let me know.  I like reading about this stuff.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Milwaukee, West Bend, New Berlin and Wauwatosa.

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1. Alan Tuerkheimer - December 19, 2008

Thanks for the positive review and I am glad you found the article informative. While more information is better I often have to tell counsel to refrain from going to great lengths to figure out where a potential juror lives because of the perception that affluent home/neighborhood = more money = republican = low damage juror. Not necessarily true.

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