Items of Interest
Marjorie Fargo was appointed to the Jury Committee of the Council for Court Excellence (CCE)’s Jury Project. The Jury Committee is comprised of 20-30 members from a diverse cross-section of the community, including former jurors, judges, court jury staff, and attorneys, including members of the criminal defense, criminal prosecution, civil defense and plaintiffs’ bars. The Council for Court Excellence’s Jury Project will comprehensively address systemic issues relating to the perceived burden of jury service in the District of Columbia from the perspective of jurors, judges and lawyers. It will use as a resource CCE’s ground-breaking 1998 DC Jury Project report. Additionally, it will serve as a vision for the future by addressing both new challenges and opportunities for jury service that did not exist at the time of the 1998 report, such as the potential of technology and social media to improve juror summoning and utilization and its potential to influence juror deliberations; the changing demographics of DC and who is being summoned for jury service; engaging youth as future jurors; and encouraging greater public understanding of, and appreciation for, jury service.
Since its formation in 1982 CCE’s jury work has been extensive and far-reaching: successfully advocating One Day/One Trial legislation to Congress for the Superior Court, promoting changes to the petit and grand jury systems, educating DC students about their future roles as jurors, holding annual “jury service appreciation” campaigns, and recommending ways to improve the way courts summon people to jury duty. The 1998 DC Jury Project report offered 32 recommendations to improve jury service, from permitting jurors to ask questions and take notes, to the courts and government offering positive means to encourage jury duty, to new methods to gather information about jurors during the voir dire process.
The Jury Committee will divide itself into three working committees: Jury Pool and Summoning; Trial Structure; and Jury Care, replicating the highly effective structure of the 1998 Jury Committee. CCE will provide staff support to the Jury Committee, including a full-time jury analyst. CCE staff will organize and coordinate meetings, conduct research, and prepare the final report as directed by the Jury Committee for a projected mid-2015 release followed by a public education campaign.
Ken Broda-Bahm, Persuasion Strategies, was recognized by the National Center for State Courts in its Jur-E Bulletin for his blog post "Expert Trial Consulting Myths to Dies Hard." In this post, Ken refuted what he found to be an erroneous and misleading article written by Jane Hu entitled "The Unscientific Science of Jury Selection." You can find this blog on the ASTC website by clicking on "The Red Well" link.
Sonia Chopra, National Jury Project West, needed pro-bono help with a capital trial mini-mock in a small town in Louisiana. She needed a place for the mock trial and AV. So, she contacted ASTC's Pro Bono Committee. In the area where the mock trial was to be held, Beth Biggs, Tom Foutz, Doug Green, and Scott Newnam all were willing to assist. Doug was able to find a place and equipment for the mini-mock along with providing back-up help for Sonia. Jaime Laird, Matt McClendon, and Bill Bradley conducted the Louisiana mock trial and then scanned and sent the data to Sonia in California. Mike Oakes with Sights and Sounds in Delaware provided the equipment and shipped it pro bono. Benson Green received the equipment and set it up in the courtroom. Bill and Benson did the jury summaries. Afterwards, Sonia said: "This is exactly why ASTC rocks! I cannot say enough about how much of a difference ASTC membership has meant to me on this case."
Benson Green, Douglas Green and Associates, saw a post a few years ago on a tabletop war gaming industry blog about Games Workshop suing a small business. He pulled the pleadings. Seeing the complaint as overreaching, he contacted the defendant to wish him luck. Chapterhouse was a company of 2. They were hobbyists who turned their passions into a garage business. They were being sued for nearly half a million dollars, and they didn't even have an attorney. Benson contacted Lawyers for Creative Arts, a Pro Bono legal service. LCA got the defendant in touch with Winston and Strawn, who accepted the Pro Bono Case. Over the next two years, Benson estimates he and his firm put in over 1000 hours helping with the case. As the trial grew closer, he helped with the organizational narrative and comprehensive trial strategy, and found a focus group firm in Chicago to assist with the mock trial (again without charge). He was involved in jury selection and assisted counsel throughout the trial. At the end of the two week trial, Chapterhouse defeated 111 of the 160 copyright infringement claims. Benson pointed out that helping a small business stand up to an industry giant was rewarding enough. Changing the rules to help other small businesses was a bonus. In addition to all that, the lawyers involved had their first experience working with trial consultants.
Rosalind Greene, Advanced Jury Research, has been consulting with the Arizona Supreme Court Committee on the Impact of Wireless Mobile Technologies and Social Media on court proceedings regarding the use of social media and the Internet on jurors.
Tara Trask, Tara Trask & Associates, proudly assisted the plaintiiff's team in PACT v. Xilinx in Marshall, Texas. On May 18, 2012, the jury found willful infringement of two PACT patents and awarded $15.4 million dollars.