Less than 3 weeks ago went to trial on a Class A Felony case. My client was charged with Burglary in the First Degree. During jury selection one of the potential jurors volunteered she had been a victim of a residential burglary and she thought she could not give my client a fair shake. The trial judge invited me to make a motion to have the juror disqualified (by exercising a challenge for cause) and I reserved the right to make such a challenge until jury selection was completed.
One rule of thought is that if a juror warns you they may be unfair and you keep that juror on the panel that, in that juror’s mind, it is the lawyer’s own fault if their client gets an unfavorable verdict. In this particular case, however, I believed the juror was trying to be fair by volunteering information about herself and would work hard to overcome any bias she had. There are a number of reasons this jury ultimately returned a Not Guilty verdict–but I am convinced that keeping jurors that don’t try to hide their biases is normally a good strategy.
This is a really common thing which is a good thing. There aren’t many jurors who will say and be honest that they had a case like this and their judgment won’t be clear. This is probably not so rare situation, but it could be presented always, that someone doesn’t want to be in a jury if they believe that their verdict won’t be fair. As you can see, there are people out there who still have moral beliefs and moral standards. Although we can admit that this is pretty rare in today’s modern world. As you can see, this proved to be a glimpse of hope that there are normal and moral people in this world. This person could have easily kept silent and continued jury duty. And her recent situation could have probably influenced the verdict. But she couldn’t do it and this is a classic example of a person who has a high morale state. This is a person that is truly worth admiring.