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There are many attorneys who believe that this is the most crucial part of the trial. It is very difficult to obtain a fair jury. During this part of the trial it is important to identify what we believe are the weak aspects of our case and deal with them head on. In addition, we need to try and find the jurors that we know can not be fair and strike them off the jury. Normally, the court will bring in 80 prospective jurors.
The following are some examples of questions that I like to ask in this type of case:
- Explain the difference between Probable Cause, Preponderance of the Evidence, Clear and Convincing Evidence, and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
- Now, the government gets to put their case on first. Can all of you withhold judgment in this case until my client testifies?
- What if my client testifies and the complainant testifies and you find the complainant to be credible and you find that my client is credible? How would you have to vote?
- Negative experience – I talk about a negative experience one of my loved ones had as an identity theft victim. Similarly, if someone has been the victim in any way of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior then they may not be able to be fair and impartial. Or, if they have a family member that has been a victim, then they should tell us now or they can raise their hand and tell us that they would like to discuss this privately with the judge, myself, and the prosecutor.
- There are some crimes that make people so angry that just because a person is accused of the crime, they believe he is guilty. Would you agree with that? Why?
- Who here has a daughter? Do you feel that your position as a parent of a daughter might influence your judgment in this case?
- Who here believes that people who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault are not treated fairly by the criminal justice system?
- If someone interviews a child about what happened to them, should the interviewer ask leading questions or non-leading questions?
- Should the interviewer disagree with the child if they do not like the answers they are getting?
- Should the person working for CPS be like Nancy Grace or like Larry King? Why or why not?
- Who has a friend or family member that works in Law Enforcement?
- Would you agree with me that because of that you will be more likely to agree with the police, the prosecutor, or the person working for CPS?
- Can a child be mistaken about being touched inappropriately? How many people believe that children always tell the truth?
- If not, then isn’t it true that you cannot be fair and impartial in this case? You will always believe a child if they say that they have been touched inappropriately, and never be able to believe my client when he says they are mistaken?
- How can a child know so much about sex if she has not been abused?
- Would children lie about sexual abuse?
- Why would a child make the story up?
- How would a divorce and child custody battle affect that?
- Based on your experiences, do children lie about important things that happen to them?
- [To a teacher] Given your experience with children, have you ever known a child to lie about important things? Why?
- Can a mother cause a child to lie about something important?
- Can the age of a child impact the manner in which a child describes events that the child observes? Is there a difference in a child’s perception of events based upon the child’s age?
What is the difference, if any, between a child’s perception of events and a child’s fabrication of events?
- What would you do if children falsely accused you of sexual molestation or rape?
- Does the fact that a person has been charged with indecency with a child suggest to you that they are, in fact, guilty of that offense?
- What are some reasons why a girl would say that she was touched by her step-father in the context of a child-custody battle?
- If your brother was being accused of abusing his children by CPS in Austin, but another branch of CPS in Georgetown said the allegations were not true, what would you think?