July 17, 2020
Many of us have seen the photos of the absurdly large proposed area to be used for jury selection at NRG STADIUM.
This layout does not mirror any Courtroom in this country. No court would be designed placing the venire persons so far away from the lawyers. We have to see the venire persons to make informed decisions when exercising strikes on behalf of our clients
It’s time that those who came up with this plan seek input from lawyers who have actually picked juries. People’s liberty is at stake.
We are not against jury trials. We support jury trials.
But there are two caveats: First, in the age of Covid, jury selection must be safe for all participants. Second, jury selection must afford defense counsel a fair opportunity to do our job and provide effective assistance of counsel.
The NRG Plan appears to sacrifice the second objective in order to meet the first. That will not work. Both objectives must be met. Defense lawyers should not be placed in a position of having to try to do voire dire when we cannot even see the venire.
The NRG Plan may be semi-safe, but it fails to provide defense counsel with the necessary fair opportunity to provide effective assistance during voire dire .
Rather than fighting over a patently flawed plan, I would urge the judiciary to work with us to come up with a plan that meets both objectives.
As it stands, the NRG Plan will not work. No lawyer should attempt to pick a jury under this proposal.