Should Post-Verdict Jury Interviews be allowed? Have you conducted them?
I’ve had the opportunity to conduct interviews of jury members after a verdict has been rendered and the jury dismissed. I must admit that it was a great learning experience and I think they should be allowed.
I realize there is a danger when these interviews are not limited and the scope of the interviews is wide open. In my experience, we submitted a list of questions to the judge that we proposed to be asked of the jury pool and of the jurors that served on the particular trial. We strictly adhered to these questions. We did not ask or solicit any information outside of the approved questions.
In one case we were more interested in the process of jury selection and voir dire as opposed to the specifics of the trial itself. Were jury questionnaires (black book) materials complete and did they ultimately help the attorneys in paneling a jury? Were there pre-selection questions that should have been included in the book that would have clarified the concerns of the jury members? Did the attorneys ask the right questions? Were jury members offered an opportunity to fully share and explain their situations before being dismissed or empaneled?
I’d submit that if properly addressed, properly approached, and properly vetted, these questionnaires would be of value to both prosecutors and defenders. You might find they help you improve as an attorney if your jurisdiction allows post-verdict jury interviews. If you have any questions,, please contact us. There is a great article in The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, (January/February 2022 publication, The Champion) on this topic.