Jury Selection (2020)

Jury selection is the most important part of a criminal trial. Choosing the best topics to discuss in limited time (and the optimal way to discuss them) can help prepare jurors for the legal and factual issues they ultimately will be asked to decide. The first edition of Jury Selection by Ryan Calvert (Assistant District Attorney in Brazos County) guides prosecutors through the process and provides helpful suggestions and examples for ensuring members of the jury panel feel safe to express their true feelings so both sides can discern whether panelists are suitable to decide a certain case. The book includes information on:

Chapter 1: Objectives (including goals for voir dire and rules for disqualification, exemptions, challenges for cause, and peremptory challenges)

Chapter 2: Challenges for Cause (including commitment questions/Standefer and handling vacillating jurors)

Chapter 3: Batson and Discrimination in Jury Selection (discussing Batson v. Kentucky and the importance of its prohibition against striking jurors based on race or gender)

Chapter 4: Case Weaknesses (discussing methods for questioning venire panelists about issues that may trip some of them up in reaching a verdict)

Chapter 5: Addressing “Defense” Issues (including presumption of innocence, reasonable doubt, the 5th Amendment, and officer witnesses)

Chapter 6: Preparing for Closing (discussing voir dire as part of the persuasive process that ends with the prosecutor’s closing argument)