What Your Lawyer Should Say to the Jury

Posted by Harris Taback | Jul 09, 2018 | 0 Comments

I want to take a moment and explain the importance of a jury's job:

At the appropriate time in closing, after arguments are made as to how far short the prosecution has fallen in satisfying its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (rightfully the highest standard to meet in our justice system when one is accused by the state of criminal conduct), the jury should be told:

Your job is to stand between the accused and the power of the state and the court and to make certain that no conviction can be obtained unless the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Your job is not to reach a verdict but to hold the state to its burden. When you were chosen to be on the jury you promised to give my client the benefit of your individual vote after you have finished deliberations with your fellow jurors. You must respect and listen to the opinions of everyone on the jury, BUT, you need not and promised not to defer to others and change your vote to join a majority if you think your position is supported by the evidence.

All are equal in that jury room and there is no purer air you will ever breath in our democracy. We will be judged by those who follow us on how we define and honor justice. No sex, race, age or economic class deserves special respect when deliberating. All of you deserve equal treatment when expressing your opinions.

If, and I hope this is not the case because it is clear that you should acquit my client based on the evidence, you can not reach a unanimous verdict, you should neither change your vote simply to reach that goal nor be ashamed by a hung verdict.

The US Supreme Court - highest court in the country made up of 9 justices who are of the most learned legal minds - rarely reach a unanimous decision in their opinions. They are split, often at 5 - 4. You must deliberate with respect but when it is over, before you cast your vote, you walk that mile alone.

We are entitled to and we relied on your promise to give us your individual verdict.

That verdict should be not guilty.

About the Author

Harris Taback

Harris Taback is a criminal defense attorney with over three decades of experience in the courtroom. When he takes on a case, he brings with him a strong sense of passion and diligence to obtain the best outcomes for his clients. Harris operates on the principles of empathy and reason when negoti...


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