Boston Marathon Bomber’s Death Sentence Vacated due to Possible Juror Bias

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vacated Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhorkar Tsarnaev’s death sentence due to a trial judge not properly vetting a juror for possible bias.  Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for his role in the horrific April 2015 Boston Marathon bombing which killed 3 people and injured more than 260 other people.  In a 224 page opinion, the […]

August 3, 2020

To Google or Not to Google?

As attorneys, we go to great lengths to select the jury who will decide our client’s fate at trial – yet today, there is a looming, additional silent juror banging at the door attempting to, and sometimes succeeding in, getting in – Google and the age of information overload. Earlier this month a Broward County criminal defendant requested a new trial based on juror misconduct. Defendant, Dr. Scott Strolla, was […]

October 15, 2019

Reversible Error to Impose Time Limits on Voir Dire

Last week the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed an aggravated battery conviction based on a trial court improperly limiting the amount of time an attorney could ask questions to a prospective jury panel.  Strachan v. State, ___ So. 3d ___ (Fla. 4th DCA 2019). In Strachan, the trial court entered a scheduling order before trial limiting voir dire to forty-five minutes per side, noting if either side needed additional […]

October 7, 2019

“Not Particularly Engaged” Juror Should Have Been Stricken

A trial court’s decision was reversed early in June for failing to strike a juror based on her nonverbal behavior.  The Fifth District Court of Appeal held that a juror being “not particularly engaged” during jury selection was a legally sufficient race-neutral reason to strike the juror.  Travelers Home and Marine Ins. Co., v. Gallo, 2018 WL 2448799 (Fla. 5th DCA, June 1, 2018). At trial, after concluding voir dire, […]

July 3, 2018

Voir Dire Lessons from Trial: Defense Perspective

Earlier this week, in a medical malpractice wrongful death trial in Gainesville, the defense lawyers did a very thorough job questioning the prospective jurors during voir dire. Below are a few of the questions they used to evaluate the panel from the defense perspective. Defendant, Mrs. X, represents the hospital. She has a right to be in the courtroom. She has a right to defend herself. She says she didn’t […]

November 10, 2017

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