April 03, 2016 practice points

Do-It-Yourself Jury Surveys

A jury survey allows jurors to give feedback into areas where you can improve

By Hon. Mark A. Drummond

"You were very polite, looked neat, and brought out many small points in the defendant's favor." This is a response to a juror feedback questionnaire.

Unfortunately, for me, this was feedback I received from a case I had lost. Although gratified that this one juror thought I was both polite and neat in my appearance, it was little solace to my client that I brought out many "small points" in his favor. Fortunately, the feedback was for my eyes only.

For nearly 20 years as a trial attorney, I sent out a juror feedback questionnaire. When I became a judge, I continued the practice. While your verdict is the ultimate feedback, the verdict only tells you what they decided. It does not tell you the why and how of their decision. It also does not tell you who led the charge for or against you.

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