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Are Jurors Allowed to Stay On the Jury If They Know A Lawyer Or One Of The Parties?

Yes – but it’s very unusual.

I don’t know too much about how the early jury trials worked in England. I do know that the jurors were local men, who were selected because they knew the witnesses who would be testifying, and because they could judge the truth of each witness’s testimony based on their character.

In a way, that made sense – the people who know you are usually better at telling when you’re lying. They know whether you can be trusted.

On the other hand, most people tend to like the people they know. And they are more likely to believe people they know.

And that’s why it’s very unusual for a juror who knows one of the lawyers to stay on the jury. If the juror doesn’t admit favoritism, the lawyer for the other side will probably ask the judge to excuse him, and the judge will probably grant the request.

But you can’t predict what the other attorney will do, or how any juror will vote.

25 years ago I worked part time as an attorney for the public defender’s office. For my first criminal jury trial there, one of the jurors – Fred – was asked if he knew me. He said “No, but I work with his father.” The prosecutor asked the judge to excuse him.

About five years later, Fred showed up as a prospective juror in a personal injury lawsuit I was trying.

This time, I decided to beat everyone to the punch. I asked Fred if we knew each other, and how. He told the jury the same thing.

The other lawyer left him on – and Fred wound up voting for a much smaller verdict than I was hoping for.

I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I’m still glad I told the second jury about Fred; it was the right thing to do, and if I hadn’t, they would have found out about it anyway. And then they wouldn’t have trusted me at all. If you’ve been injured in an accident, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Injury Attorney about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.

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