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Court Lifts Limits on Alternate Jurors in Civil Trials

The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure have been amended by the Florida Supreme Court to remove the limit on the number of alternate jurors in civil trials. Effective January 1, 2017, Rule 1.431 has been amended to read “The court may direct that 1 or more jurors be impaneled to sit as alternate jurors in […]





By Bob Kelley, November 29th, 2016 Add comment

Juror’s Mid-Trial Tweets Not Enough for New Trial

This month, in a case of first impression in Florida, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that statements posted by a juror on social media during trial were insufficiently prejudicial to require a new trial. The juror posted a series of tweets on his Twitter account during jury selection and trial which included: a) […]





By Bob Kelley, October 31st, 2016 Add comment

Is it Possible to “Unstrike” a Potential Juror?

After he finished his voir dire questions, a lawyer used his last peremptory strike on one of the remaining jurors. The jury panel was then accepted by his opponent. Before the jury was sworn, the lawyer asked the judge to “unstrike” the last juror he had stricken, asserting he could “backstrike” into the panel at […]





By Bob Kelley, October 19th, 2016 Add comment

“I don’t believe in the jury system”

During jury selection in a car accident case, a prospective juror told counsel she “didn’t believe in the jury system” because of an experience her brother had in a criminal case two years earlier. She said she thought she would have a hard time judging the case because of her personal experience and that she […]





By Bob Kelley, May 12th, 2015 Add comment

Fundamental Error to Restrict Lawyer’s Questions During Voir Dire

A trial judge is Vero Beach was reversed last week for restricting defense counsel’s questions during jury selection. The defense lawyer in the case had been forced by the judge into going to trial without his client being present.  As a result, during jury selection several of the prospective jurors raised questions about his client’s absence and whether his client was […]





By Bob Kelley, April 9th, 2015 Add comment

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 Add comment

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

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