CANDOR, HONESTY AND FAIRNESS
Jurors will respect candor and frankness. Often, when everyone else is oozing with concern that “all we want is for you to be fair-minded jurors,” counsel may want to insert a reality check:
“Quite frankly, I am not looking for fair jurors. First and foremost, I want jurors who will be able to see our side of this case. Juror’s who will identify with my citizen, sitting here today.”
This may be a good introduction to the difference between high sounding platitudes and what we all know to be human nature.
KNOW YOUR PLACE
This paper will not deal with wardrobe or health habits. Not because I have not conformed to the rules and/or superstitions such as wearing “sincere blue” for closing, but because I have watched compelling arguments come from advocates adorned with everything from ponytails to suede leather jackets with fringe. The point is that while substance, style and presentation are paramount, you must develop your own. What works for Tony Serra or Jerry Spence, may not fit Albert Krieger. Be yourself.
Self-deprecation can be appropriate. I find it gives me some comfort to denigrate the lawyer’s role in an effort to ease the tension inevitably created by some graphic confrontation between counsel and the court, the prosecution or some witness during the trial.
“I know that I may have seemed at times overly zealous. I told you at the outset that I consider it my job to do everything humanly possible to vigorously defend [my client] and his or her rights in every legal and ethical way possible. I am sure that is what you would want if you or someone you loved found yourself in [my client’s] shoes. You may have noticed that on occasion I may have offended this prosecutor or our nice judge. If in my zeal I may have seemed to go too far; if for some reason I may have offended you in some way during this trial; then please, hold that against me after this trial is over, but don’t hold that against [my client].”