I have ignored this blog for the past two months because I was acutely tied up – the vicious battle for a new trial in the Goodman case, several intense criminal investigations and even a contentious civil case. But now I have some time while decompressing in our LA house. I will write on the many jury selection ideas learned from the Goodman wars once my PTSD wears off, but here is a taste of that battle.
The judge wrote an extensive order granting Goodman a new trial due to juror misconduct. I want to point out footnote 3, which explains the extent of preparation and research that went into this case. While he remarked only on the jury investigation, it equally applies to the other parts of the trial as well: “The Court notes for the record that Mr. Dubin, an attorney for the defendant, testified about what extraordinary measures the defense took in selecting this jury in checking potential jurors’ backgrounds. During the jury selection process, the defense team, in an Orwellian fashion, had real time background checks on the potential jurors. Investigators checked private subscription websites for credit ratings, criminal records, and other databases to reveal very personal information. The defense also employed assistants to cull through social websites such as Twitter and Facebook to get more insight on potential jurors.”
While I may quibble over “Orwellian,” it describes some of the background work that goes into defending a high-profile case. Josh Dubin along with everyone else on the team, Mark Shapiro, Richard Strafer and many others, contributed to our success. Our work went largely unappreciated in Palm Beach because the Palm Beach Post along with most people in the city seem to hate the client.
There was Sign Man as we called him who dutifully met us coming and going every day and did the same with the jurors. Imagine how they felt and he was only the tip of the protestors. After 43 years of these battles I have grown a thick skin, but jurors are intimated by actions like this.
One frustrating but necessary tactic was not to make any public comments for the past year on the evolving legal issues because we were sensitive to the fact that one man would decide the juror issues. The prosecutors had no such reticence and pushed an aggressive media tactic. Only the judge knows if that was counter-productive.
In any event while I haven’t been writing I have been collecting a raft of new ideas for trial advocacy and will soon roll them out here.