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Post-Verdict Interviews: Understanding Jury Decision Making

NCJ Number
Trial Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: (February 1990) Pages: 64-66
H Varinsky; L Nomikos
Date Published
3 pages
Trial lawyers can learn a great deal about jury decisionmaking by interviewing jurors comprehensively after trial.
Procedures for conducting post-verdict juror interviews are discussed and cover each major phase of the trial in addition to litigants, witnesses, attorneys, and the judge. Jurors should be interviewed by telephone as soon after the verdict as possible by an interviewer who is not one of the attorneys who tried the case. After rapport has been established, the juror can be asked how he voted on liability, damage, and guilt issues and what factors influenced his decision. The interviewer can also inquire about voir dire, attorneys' opening and closing statements, and the jurors' perceptions of the effectiveness of the attorneys and the judge. Trial lawyers can learn a great deal by finding out what went on in the jury room during deliberations. After interviewing juries in criminal and civil cases, trial attorneys can develop general guidelines on how juries function, and they can apply these guidelines to future cases.