Peremptory Strikes

I really don’t understand what all the hoopla is about regarding this topic. It seems that everyone I know has his or her own opinion about this subject,, so what the hell,,, I might as well throw in my 2 cents worth. In Texas when we select a jury we get anywhere from 3 to 10 peremptory strikes in a criminal case. A pause here, because I pick a criminal jury and not a civil jury shortly,,, hence the post is mostly about criminal cases and peremptory strikes in a criminal case. I find this post applies to civil juries also.

It seems that almost everyone I listen to that ever tries cases has an opinion about who to strike and why. To me, that sounds like an agenda,, but what do I know. I listen to those folks with an impressive resume from a “great” law school preach that they don’t want any law enforcement personnel on their jury. (Hell the last aggravated sexual assault I tried got a not guilty verdict,, and I had a cop on the jury, so I don’t know how true that saying is.) I hear those that have the $10,000.00 saddle preach about getting jurors that will follow their agenda, without even getting to know the individual. I guess these “lawyers” somehow read those jury information cards and magically decide what jurors not to keep on their jury, or some such nonsense.

Now folks, I sure as hell don’t know much but I’ve learned this,,, it ain’t no fun being the only kid that ain’t asked to dance. Huh? I mean, for some of us,,, certainly not those “lawyers” with the “top notch law school pedigree”, it don’t take much to remember being left out of some sport or not getting picked for some team. For me, it was always basketball,,, I had corrective eye surgery later in life,,, well after soft contact lenses,, and when I was playing basketball,, I couldn’t see anyone to pass the ball to. Sure, in my mind,, I was the next Jerry West,, but in reality, no one wanted me on their team. So I never got picked or I got picked last. I remember that pain I felt. I was less than,, I did not belong,, I was ashamed,, those experiences scarred me for life. Okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but none the less,, I hope you get the point.

So, I ask all you “lawyers”,, do you ever think that might have happened to any member of the panel? And as much as I want to think that my beliefs are somewhat mainstream,,,, what if those 12 left standing don’t think my agenda is correct? What then? Am I fucked?

So, here’s my 2 cents worth, all you “big time” lawyers. If we exclude, we invoke memories of not being picked for the basketball team, or whatever personal experience the juror has of exclusion. Ah, but you “lawyers” say,,, it doesn’t matter, because those that were excluded are no longer on the panel,,, so screw you and your country lawyer ways. I say this,, I’ll always remember the principle of exclusion. It invokes miserable feelings in me. Also, you “lawyers” seem to forget that there are bonds forming in any group that is assembled anywhere. I will eventually say hello to the fella next to me and I might even start talking to him or her about something,,, thus beginning the formation of a bond in an environment that nobody wants to be a part of. Now which one of you fucking “lawyers” decided that my friend sitting next to me ain’t good enough to sit with me and listen for a couple of days to testimony? You know, I kinda liked that ole boy / gal sitting next to me and you kicked my new friend off the jury,,, I wonder if I’ll have to vote against you? Have a nice day, I’m off to town.


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