January 2014 - Pg 2-Jury Selection
Respectfully deferring to the experts, I DO recommend what comes next as I have evaluated hundreds of shooting scenes from the point of view of the defense. If you are involved in a shooting, STOP. STOP and wait for law enforcement. You WILL be in shock. Just as you practice at the range, you can role-play how to behave:
- Put your gun away to avoid being mistaken for the offender. Do not collect the empty cases. Do not reload. You are now right in the middle of what is possibly a crime scene;
- Back up from the person you have shot, to a safe position but no further; do NOT approach;
- Do NOT carry on a conversation with law enforcement; be very polite and cooperate but explain using a broken record technique that you will tell them everything they want to know about what happened ONCE YOUR LAWYER ARRIVES. Again, you WILL be in shock. Resist the compulsion to explain yourself!
Okay, moving on: you now have a lawyer. He or she will know exactly what you need to do. A trial by jury is fairly far off but as you approach your trial date there are tasks I would suggest performing. As soon as you know the venue where you will be tried, find out the towns from which a jury pool will be summoned. Subscribe to the local newspaper. Read every issue including the classifieds and get to know the interests and opinions of those towns as reflected in their daily concerns as well as the trends in what local reporters choose to say on multiple topics. In a criminal case, I would start a minimum of six months before trial.
Have a private investigator or other competent observer frequent the coffee shops, restaurants, and other places where the locals gather to get a “feel” for the people who may end up judging you. Persons selected by your lawyer can go on ride-alongs with the local police. So much useful information about the jury pool as well as local customs can be gathered from seeing these towns through the eyes of their cops.
With the exception of reading the newspapers, all such activities must be done under the close supervision of your lawyer and NEVER by yourself or family or friends. Your lawyer will “school” you on what you can and cannot do and will demand you maintain a very low profile including staying off the Internet! You will need to act for months and perhaps even years as though you are being surveilled in all you do. No kidding.
Start protecting yourself TODAY. Owning firearms and carrying concealed weapons are, as I said earlier, awesome responsibilities. So is crafting what your future, and the future of your family, is likely to be if you have to protect yourself and/or others and some prosecutor decides to do all he can to bankrupt, terrorize, and imprison you. If you don’t believe it happens, I recommend you read The Bison King.
Procedures for jury selection in criminal trials differ from court to court within the same courthouse, as well as across counties and states, and there are differences between state and federal trials. I will refer to selecting 12 jurors, which is the norm, though some juries consist of eight and even six (which in my opinion are too few).