Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lawyers Have to Take Seriously Their Occasional Roles as Jurors

Much like the judge who decided two cases by coin-toss (Mike's Nov. 07 story here), a lawyer who voted as a juror, it seems, based on expedience and not on the merits is in big trouble.  The ABA Journal online newsletter has the story of a California attorney who served on a med mal jury, as Vote to End504658_88595055 Jury Deadlock May Cost Attorney His Law License.  A Cal state judge recommends disbarment.  The lesson is clear:  even conduct that may be relatively common for laypersons -- I am assuming that occasional jurors change votes by impatience or feeling a need to work rather than on the evidence as they see it -- is serious misconduct for officers of the court, even when they are not acting in the role of attorney (though no doubt the peeved fellow jurors were even more disappointed with him because he was a lawyer too).  This has got to be a cautionary tale for those of us, all of us, who will serve on juries.  [Alan Childress]

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