Posted by: birdsongslaw | August 8, 2008

Birdsong’s Talking Points On Our Jury System

Birdsong is often asked to speak on legal topics to various groups and he is happy to do so.  Here are Birdsong’s talking points concerning the American Jury System used to address the Lake County Florida Bar Association’s Law Day Celebration back in 2005.

You may find some of the points informative.

LAKE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION 

 

I. INTRODUCTION / THANKS FOR INVITE / BIRDSONG BACKGROUND

 

 

 

II.

 

III. THE THEME THIS YEAR IS THE AMERICAN JURY: WE THE PEOPLE IN ACTION.

 MY SHORT TALK TODAY IS MORE IN LINE WITH EXPRESSING MY APPRECIATION FOR THE AMERICAN JURY

— BECAME A MEMBER OF MY FIRST BAR AT 27

— MANY MANY JURY TRIALS OVER LAST 30 YRS

— VERY PROUD TO HAVE APPEARED BEFORE JURIES

 

 

IV.

SAY THAT REMINDS ME – LET ME FIRST SAY SOMETHING LIGHTHEARTED ABOUT JURIES AND HOW LAWYERS TALK TOO MUCH — DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT… 

V. ALTHOUGH I LOVE APPEARING BEFORE JURIES, I OFTEN TELL MY STUDENTS THAT OFTEN WITH THEIR VERDICTS JURIES DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE WRONG REASONS.

I MEAN NO MALICE BY THIS – HERE IS AN EXAMPLE…

[ TELL HERE ABOUT “YOUNG UNS” TRIAL]

 

VI. I WILL NOT REGALE YOU WITH ALL OF MY OLD WAR TALES BUT LET ME TELL YOU SOME OF MY STATS – I TRIED MY FIRST JURY TRIAL IN 1974 – A CONTRACT CASE BETWEEN A BOWLING ALLEY AND ITS LANDLORD…WE WON.

MY LAST JURY TRIAL BEFORE BEGINNING TEACHING AT BARRY WAS IN 1998. A WRONGFUL DISCHARGE CASE…. WE LOST.

SHORTEST JURY VERDICT CAME AFTER A 2 DAY CRIMINAL TRIAL – JURY CAME BACK IN 23 MINS

W/A GUILTY VERDICT

MY LONGEST JURY VERDICT WAS 23 DAY WAIT – THE TRIAL HAD LASTED 6 MOS AND WAS A COMPLEX RACKETEERING CASE

 

 

VII.

BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT ME OR ANY OTHER LAWYERS WHO APPEAR BEFORE JURIES. IT IS ABOUT THE JURIES THEMSELVES – THEY MAKE OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE WORK

AS MANY OF YOU KNOW THOMAS JEFFERSON CALLED THE JURY SYSTEM “THE ONLY ANCHOR YET IMAGINED BY MAN BY WHICH A GOVERNEMENT CAN BE HELD TO THE PRINCIPLES OF ITS CONSTITUTION.”

THERE ARE MORE THAN 80,000 JURY TRIALS EVERY YEAR IN THIS COUNTRY, AT WHICH NEARLY A MILLION CITIZENS SERVE AS JURORS. MORE THAN FIVE TIMES THAT NUMBER SHOW UP AT THEIR LOCAL COURTHOUSES TO REPORT

I AM HAPPY TO SAY THAT OVER THE YEARS I WON MOST OF MY JURY TRIALS.FOR JURY DUTY.

BESIDES VOTING, FEW ACTIVITIES IN THE LIFE

OF THE TYPICAL AMERICAN OFFER SUCH DIRECT

CONTACT WITH OUR DEMOCRACY

[USE LIST HERE]

 

VIII. SO ON THIS DAY, LET US ALL RECOGNIZE THOSE WHO ARE CALLED UPON TO TAKE TIME FROM THEIR DAILY LIVES TO FULFILL THE HIGHEST RESPONSIBILITY OF CITIZENSHIP AND MAKE OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE A REALITY THROUGH THEIR JURY SERVICE

I URGE ALL OF YOU HERE, AS WELL AS SCHOOL, BUSINESSES AND THE MEDIA OF OUR NATION TO DEDICATE TO DEDICATE YOURSELF TO PRESERVING AND STRENGTHENING THE AMERICAN JURY SYSTEM

THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT

AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, SINCE 1958 THE AM BAR ASSN EACH YR ENCOURAGES STATE AND LOCAL BAR ASSN’S TO DESIGN A LAW DAY EVENT WHICH WILL EXPAND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC’S AWARENESS AND APPRECIATION OF OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM, LEGAL HERITAGE AND THE ROLE OF LAW IN OUR SOCIETY

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