Juror Experiences Needed

If you have been a juror for a criminal trial in Texas and would like to share your experience please email me (robertATrobertguestDOTcom) or answer in the comments.

1. What was the offense?
2. What was the verdict/punishment?
3. What swayed the jury during deliberations?
4. What did the State’s attorneys do/say that was most/least effective?
5. What did the defense lawyer do/say that was most least effective?
6. Any advise for defense lawyers on how we can do better?
7. Anything else?

I know enough about me and what I think is important during trial. Tell me more about you.

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2 responses to “Juror Experiences Needed”

  1. Edward Gardere says:

    Aggravated assault. Defendant had already pled guilty. We were used to determine punishment. Scott Pelly of CBS was our foreman.
    The defense used people as character witness that were actually detrimental to the defendant. We wrote on pieces of paper how many years we thought the defendant deserved. I wrote life..my argument was that the intent of the defendant was to kill and I was not going to give a lighter sentence just because he was a bad shot.
    We actually got sequestered due to our lengthy deliberations. Sentencing ended up being 50 years. I do not think I will be serving on a jury again.

  2. Bill says:

    Armed Robbery/Murder.

    Not guilty.

    No credible evidence putting accused at the scene of the crime.

    DA’s did nothing that I personally considered effective, but I think that more a result of their lack of case than their abilities. Their key witnesses were a young boy who had been shown photo lineups so many times (and this was a re-trial) that his identification was worthless, and an elderly man who stated he was so far away that he stated he couldn’t even tell the race of the person. In their closing arguments the prosecutors were grapsing at straws and came out with some bizarre, convoluted scenario that no one on the jury could even figure out.

    Defense attorney’s best move was calling the previously convicted “accomplice” to the stand. Since he already had his plea bargain, the prosecutors knew they couldn’t get anything out of him. Instead, they just read his testimony from the original trial. So the defense attorney called the accomplice to the stand so we could hear his repeated “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember”. She also called the court clerk as a witness to read the disposition of the accomplice’s case so we would know about the plea bargain he got. I really don’t recall her doing anything ineffective. You know when someone is really good they make their job look easy? That was her.

    Doing better: reinforce that just because someone is on trial doesn’t mean they’re guilty. We had one person on the jury (young white female from North Dallas) that just couldn’t get over the fact that he was on trial, so he must have done something. She held out for a couple hours. She was eventually able to reconcile a not-guilty verdict based on there being no evidence other than the testimony from the first trial that placed the defendant at the scene of the crime, and state law that there must be some other evidence beyond accomplice testimony.

    Interesting info: As mentioned, this was a re-trial. We found out afterward that the first trial ended up in a hung jury. 11-1 for guilty. The two differences appear to be the guy who actually did it testifying in the first trial to get his plea bargain, and the defendant using a public defender the first time and a private practice attorney the second time.

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