by: Dr. Kevin Boully
I think corporations have way too much power and they squash the little guy.
Last week in a federal district courtroom in northwestern United States, Juror #4 shared some of the most transparent and scathing opinions of American corporations ever to bounce off a courtroom wall. Just as his cutting remarks were starting to gain steam, the judge cut him off mid-sentence and promptly dismissed him from the courtroom for cause. Jurors’ anti-corporate bias is nothing new. And it is no real surprise to encounter a juror who believes in corporate deception and conspiracy – after all, “Corporations are what’s wrong with this county.” The twist in this civil jury trial came from a slightly different place. The court heard Juror #4’s comments no sooner than the Defendant’s brief oral voir dire, and if not for defense counsel’s targeted voir dire question, would never have heard it at all.
The lesson is clear. Once you’ve identified the highest risk attitudes and opinions for your case, do not refuse to ask jurors bluntly and openly about them for fear an honest response will poison your panel. Ask the question. Make sure jurors tell you the answer. You need to know how bad it is.