Jury Trial or Trial to a Judge?
We've discussed this issue before but I wanted to go over it again, not because we offer an ebook on jury selection but because it is an area where someone representing themselves (known as pro se or pro per) can have an advantage.
Most lawyers are awful at jury trials and even worse at selecting the jury. That's because they don't do it very often and don't take the time to learn to do it right. Most are still using the same techniques which were used 50 years ago, rather than techniques developed in the last few years which are more effective and yield much better results.
However, leaving that aside, there are a few practical reasons a person representing themselves should consider having a jury decide their case.
- The judge knows and works with the lawyer or lawyers on a regular basis and, at least in my opinion, is more likely to lean toward them in close calls. They know who provides financial support, votes for them, and who they will see at the next social function.
- The jury is composed of folks just like you! They will understand if you stumble a little, if it takes a few extra minutes for the trial, and they won't be predisposed in favor of the lawyer.
- People don't like lawyers in general. They rank slightly above politicians and car salesmen on the trust meter, but only slightly.
- If you take the time to figure out how the jury selection and trial works, you can have a tremendous advantage in a trial. This is one of the few areas of the legal process where it is possible.