What are jury consultants?

Jury consultants are individuals who have specialized knowledge and expertise in reading people's tendencies. They are hired by litigants in order to help empanel a jury most helpful to the defendant's cause.

What happens at the start of a criminal trial?

Just as in a typical civil case, the attorneys begin with opening statements. The prosecution goes first and then the defense attorney follows. The opening statements do not

LegalSpeak: Johnson v. Louisiana (1972)

Of course, the State's proof could perhaps be regarded as more certain if it had convinced all 12 jurors instead of only nine; it would have been even more compelling if it had been required to convince and had, in fact, convinced 24 or 36 jurors. But the fact remains that nine jurors—a substantial majority of the jury— were convinced by the evidence. In our view disagreement of three jurors does not alone establish reasonable doubt, particularly when such a heavy majority of the jury, after having considered the dissenters' views, remains convinced of guilt. That rational men disagree is not in itself equivalent to a failure of proof by the State, nor does it indicate infidelity to the reasonable-doubt standard. Jury verdicts finding guilt beyond a reasonable doubt are regularly sustained even though the evidence was such that the jury would have been justified in having a reasonable doubt; even though the trial judge might not have reached the same conclusion as the jury, and even though appellate judges are closely divided on the issue whether there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction. That want of jury unanimity is not to be equated with the existence of a reasonable doubt emerges even more clearly from the fact that when a jury in a federal court, which operates under the unanimity rule and is instructed to acquit a defendant if it has a reasonable doubt about his guilt. If the doubt of a minority of jurors indicates the existence of a reasonable doubt, it would appear that a defendant should receive a directed verdict of acquittal rather than a retrial. We conclude, therefore, that verdicts rendered by nine out of 12 jurors are not automatically invalidated by the disagreement of the dissenting three. Appellant was not deprived of due process of law.

LegalSpeak: N.M. Dist. Ct. R.Cr.P. 5-607

5-607 Order of trial

The order of trial shall be as follows:

A. a qualified jury shall be selected and sworn to try the case;

B. initial instructions as provided in UJI Criminal shall be given by the court;

C. the state may make an opening statement. The defense may then make an opening statement or may reserve such opening statement until after the conclusion of the state's case;

D. the state shall submit its evidence;

E. out of the presence of the jury, the court shall determine the sufficiency of the evidence, whether or not a motion for directed verdict is made;

F. the defense may then make an opening statement, if reserved;

G. the defense may submit its evidence;

H. the state may submit evidence in rebuttal;

I. the defense may submit evidence in surrebuttal;

J. at any time before submission of the case to the jury, the court may for good cause shown permit the state or defense to submit additional evidence;

K. out of the presence of the jury, the court shall determine the sufficiency of the evidence, whether or not a motion for directed verdict is made;

L. the instructions to be given shall be determined in accordance with Rule 5-608. The court shall then instruct the jury;

M. the state may make the opening argument;

N. the defense may make its argument;

O. the state may make rebuttal argument only.

contain evidence, as the introduction of evidence is not allowed. A good opening statement attracts the attention of the jury members and sets the stage for the attorneys' case-in-chief.

After the prosecution makes their opening statement, the defense usually makes their opening statement. However, many jurisdictions' court rules allow a defense attorney to choose whether to make their opening statement right after the prosecution's opening statement or to delay their opening statement until after the prosecution has presented its case.

LegalSpeak: Rhode Island Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 26.2, Opening statements

Before any evidence is offered at trial, the State may make an opening statement. If a defendant chooses to make an opening statement, he or she may do so just prior to the introduction of evidence by the State, or just prior to presenting his case.

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