In the United States, attorneys have the privilege of voir dire, or the ability to question and examine potential jurors for bias before allowing them to sit on a jury. This process is designed to prevent significant biases from unfairly skewing a trial in favor of one side. Over the years, this process has evolved to include procedures such as scientific jury selection and jury selection research. Through survey data collection and the use of social science concepts, research can help attorneys select favorable jurors for their trial with surprising accuracy.
The idea of jury selection research dates back to the time of “jury books,” when attorneys would check jurors’ backgrounds through public records, assessing whether past life experiences would lead to bias in a case. Over time, telephone surveys became another way of researching and gathering data on potential jurors. Today, juror surveys are still an effective way of learning more about individuals who may be sitting in the jury box on trial day.
Through scientific jury selection, attorneys may seek to understand potential jurors’ backgrounds and beliefs/attitudes/opinions, using social science to predict which verdict an individual is most likely to render. Attorneys may also seek to learn potential jurors’ perceptions of a case’s circumstances, thoughts on relevant issues, and tendencies in similar cases.
Of course, you’ll need a skilled and experienced jury selection research company to design survey questions and questioning strategies for juror surveys. John Zogby Strategies is a veteran survey data collection and polling service that can use social science and experience to find the best jurors for your case. Contact them today for more details.