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The Problem of Bias in a Jury

By March 11, 2015Jury Service

Video with Brigham Cluff about Jury Bias

Bias in Jury selection is inevitable from both the Jurors and Lawyers involved. Brigham Cluff of Cluff law discusses how to approach two types of Bias in this video.

Start Transcription of The Problem of Bias in a Jury

Hi this is Brigham Cluff. This is my video in my series all about Arizona juries entitled The Problem of Bias.

Today I want to talk about bias specifically as it relates to juries. There are two kinds of bias that I really want to focus on. The one kind of bias is something that most of us condemn which is bias in others. Then the second type of bias that I want to talk about is something that we all justify and feel very strongly about which is the bias that exists in ourselves.

Let’s talk about bias in others in the context of jury service. We know that bias exists. When you’re an attorney and you are going in to select a jury for your case, you’re very concerned about identifying potential biases that could be harmful for your case. It keeps attorneys up at night worrying, what kind of biases may exist on my jury? It’s scary because biases are very powerful.

How do you identify those biases? The jury selection process in Arizona is known as Vior Dire. In that process, the judge and the attorneys get to ask the potential members of the jury questions and the juries answer those questions. Through the answers to those questions, we get some insights into what biases potential juries may have.

When attorneys are going through the jury selection process, they’re trying to find the best jury that they can for their case. They know that there are biases that exist in the world and they want to try to use that information that they have to their benefit. In fact, what I see happening sometimes is that attorneys, it’s one thing that they know and so they try to use it, but they use it to the exclusion of really much more important information that they could be learning about the individuals that make up their jury. You end up having an attorney that strikes a brunette because the person was a brunette. That gets in the way of identifying that actually that brunette happens to think everybody’s guilty. That’s much more important isn’t it?

The second kind of bias that I want to discuss is the bias that exists in ourselves. If you want to have success in a jury trial, you need to deal with all biases intelligently. You need to deal with juror biases, you need to deal with your own biases. One of the ways that you can do that is to find out what your biases are. How do you find out what your biases are? You could ask people that know you. They may have some observations they’ve made about what your biases are. Maybe a bit painful to hear what those observations are, but probably good for you to hear what those biases are.

Another way that you can learn about your biases is by getting some other third party perspective, not from people that know you, but people who will be looking at the same facts that you’re looking at and seeing what their opinions are.

I’m going to be speaking more about focus groups and I have a video entitled, The Science of Focus Groups later in this series all about Arizona juries. We’re going to dive pretty deep there about getting that third party perspective from focus groups.

The reason why it’s so important in the jury system is that we are trying to get as fair a result as possible. We’re trying to achieve justice through this process.

Please watch all of my videos in my series all about Arizona juries. I’d be happy to have feedback from you and I’ll reply to any comments that I receive.

End Transcription of The Problem of Bias in a Jury

All About Arizona Juries 7 part Series

Intro to All About AZ Juries

  1. The #1 Trick to Getting out of Jury Duty in AZ
  2. The Problem of Bias in Juries
  3. Trusting the Jury
  4. The Science of Focus Groups and Juries
  5. Differences in Juries between State & Federal Court
  6. The Founding Fathers and their view on Jury Service
  7. Everything you think you know about juries is wrong