September 01, 2012

Stealth Jurors

Dr. Jeff Frederick

From Mastering Voir Dire, Chapter 6

Objectives

  • Find out how to identify and deal with stealth jurors.

There is a type of difficult juror that deserves special attention. This juror is the stealth juror. While this juror holds the biases often present in the difficult juror, the stealth juror seeks to gain a seat on the jury by masking his or her bias in order to forward a personal agenda (e.g., convict a defendant, acquit a defendant, punish a corporation or party, right a perceived wrong, or insure that the verdict is consistent with the stealth juror’s view of “justice”). Consider the following examples of jurors who may have had an agenda. A potential juror assures the court that he could be fair and impartial, which the court takes to be “sincere” and “honest.” He is subsequently qualified to serve in a murder trial. However, prior to being seated on the jury, coworkers come forward and advise the court that the juror told them that he knew the defendant was guilty and he was going to “fry the bastard” if he made it on the jury. This juror was removed.4

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