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Contemplating a Trial Decided by 'the Six People Ahead of You in Line at WalMart'

The South Florida Lawyers blog offered an interesting observation this week about jury trials. SFL notes that lawyers who bluster that they are eager to try their complex case before a jury are actually saying that "they will be asking the guy in a tank top at Target to decide a complex question of securities law involving several hundred million dollars." Or, as SFL sums it up in the title of the post, "Your $400 Million Case Will Be Decided By the Six People Ahead of You in Line at WalMart."

SFL's post followed an article in the Sun Sentinel reporting that judges in South Florida are not pleased with the clothing that defendants and others are wearing to court. Recently, a woman in Fort Lauderdale appeared in court wearing curlers, bedroom slippers and a shower cap. Some defendants who are dressed in violation of the Broward County courthouse's "No tank tops" policy reportedly have been sent across the street to Target to buy a shirt. Broward County Judge Sharon Zeller says that as a "matter of decorum," she will not hear a case if she can see a defendant's underwear due to overly baggy pants.

SFL writes that lawyers tend to believe that they have the ability to persuade the world -- their employees, staff or even juries -- to do what they want. As perhaps indicated by the attire of the people streaming through courthouses these days, SFL concludes, lawyers need to remember that in a jury trial they are "talking to six guys or gals in tank tops or bedroom slippers who don't give a hail who you are."

Read the full SFL post and check out the great photos of your potential jurors standing in line at Walmart here.


Posted by Bruce Carton on February 17, 2011 at 06:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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