Juries, Bumper Stickers and Society

In the movie The Judge, in jury selection involving a murder charge against his father (Robert Duvall, The Judge) Robert Downey Jr. uses an old tactic. He asks the jury pool who has a bumper sticker on their car, and then makes decisions based upon the bumper stickers disclosed by the potential jurors. Simplistic; yes; off the wall, no.
If nothing else, the OJ trial had much to do with alerting the general population to the fact that juries in this country make mistakes. This occurs in both civil and criminals trials. Every experienced trial lawyer will tell you (if they're honest) that they have won cases they should have lost and lost cases they should have won. As we tell every client, letting a case go to verdict is no different than rolling dice in LasVegas. You never know what a jury will do. I have tried cases before "mock juries" and seen jurors discuss in videotaped deliberations everything other than what you think they would be discussing. Frustrating...but fascinating.
So; are people frustrated over recent Grand Jury decisions in race based cases? Of course. But; those decisions do nothing more than mirror societal attitudes and prejudices. So...don't blame our system, which albeit flawed, is the best in the world. Trial lawyers both love it and hate it. Words cannot describe what the trial lawyer feels when you learn that the jury has reached a verdict. But, we all know that many jury decisions have no concrete explanation. If you want changes; look to society, not to the system.
I've been trying cases for 32 years. I don't ever make predictions. But I do know that, just like Robert Downey Jr. in "The Judge", bumper stickers on cars and trucks may tell us more than we may like to admit.

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