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How to Save a Potentially Contaminated Jury Panel

During jury selection in a civil trial a prospective juror stated in open court that he was familiar with one of the defendant’s expert medical witnesses. The juror said the expert had “kind of screwed-up my dad’s back,” and that his dad had filed a lawsuit against the doctor. The defense lawyer then moved to […]





By Bob Kelley, January 30th, 2013 2 comments

Failure to Conduct Juror Background Check During Trial May Constitute Lack of Due Diligence

The Third District Court of Appeal recently held that the failure of trial counsel to perform background checks during trial on the members of the jury  – as was suggested by the judge be done during this trial  – may constitute a lack of due diligence, thereby precluding any right to a new trial based […]





By Bob Kelley, September 11th, 2012 Add comment

Tweeting Jurors Will Face Jail In California

Going further than his predecessor was willing to go, California Governor Jerry Brown has criminalized juror tweeting. Under AB 141, which will go into effect on January 1, 2012, any juror who willfully disobeys the court admonishment against any form of communication or research about the case, including tweeting, may be sent to jail for […]





By Bob Kelley, October 31st, 2011 4 comments

E-Mail Your Problems To Me

As you all know, the annual FJA Jury Selection Seminar is this Friday in Miami. If you have a jury selection problem or a particular area of concern in an upcoming jury trial, send me an email by this Wednesday, and I will make sure one of our speakers addresses it during the program. This […]





By Bob Kelley, October 24th, 2011 Add comment

Don’t Miss This Program!

The once-a-year FJA Jury Selection Seminar is going to take place a week from this Friday at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami. This year’s seminar is part of the two-day Masters of Justice Program.  If you are a trial lawyer who understands the importance of voir dire in the outcome of your trial, you won’t […]





By Bob Kelley, October 18th, 2011 Add comment

Have You Ever Been In Court?

Last week the Fourth District Court of Appeal reinstated a $4.9 million dollar jury verdict against State Farm Insurance Company in a UM case that had been set aside by the trial judge on the grounds of “juror non-disclosure” about the juror’s prior litigation history. In Gamsen v State Farm, 36 FLW D1630A (Fla 4th […]





By Bob Kelley, August 1st, 2011 1 comment

Court Errs In Blocking Peremptory Strike

A single mistake in jury selection can result in an entire new trial. Nowhere is that truer than in the area of “Neil Challenges” and peremptory strikes. A mistake there is usually reversible error per se. In Garcia v. State , 35 FLW D2328 (Fla 3rd DCA 2010), the Defense wanted to exercise a peremptory […]





By Bob Kelley, November 2nd, 2010 1 comment

Memos Posted on Timing of Peremptory Strikes

Two memorandums of law were added to the Jury Blog today concerning the timing of peremptory strikes during jury selection. The law is clear that “the only fair [jury selection] scheme is to allow the parties to exercise their challenges … so that, before a party exercises a peremptory challenge, he has before him the […]





By Bob Kelley, October 6th, 2010 Add comment

Court Rejects “Confession of Error” in Voir Dire

Earlier this week the First District Court of Appeal, in a kafkaesque opinion, upheld a robbery conviction even though both the State and the Defense agreed on appeal that the trial judge had committed error during jury selection. In Hayes v. State, 35 FLW D2137A (Fla 1st DCA 2010), the defendant was charged with robbery […]





By Bob Kelley, September 30th, 2010 2 comments

IPhone + Encarta = New Trial

A jury verdict was reversed earlier this month due to juror misconduct when the foreperson used his Iphone to look up the definition of “prudent” on Encarta during a break in the jury’s deliberations.  In Tapanes v. State, 35 FLW D2031A (Fla 4 DCA 2010) the court wrote: “Although here we confront new frontiers in […]





By Bob Kelley, September 20th, 2010 2 comments

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