Today was an exciting day! My son Tommy Nonnenmacher, fifth grade student and Mock Trial participant, interviewed a real life trial attorney – me!
Faith in the jury system is the keystone of any legal system. The faith is that the juries in question encompass solid, decent, law-abiding individuals with common sense and the willpower to come to a fair verdict. Whether or not the juries actually live up to the high expectations depends on only one thing: The methodology applied by judges in the selection process. Here are some three vital tips to that end:
You primary goal is understanding every juror’s mind-set. Based on their background, experiences, and thoughts, how does one view the world, how will they interpret the arguments and evidence in your case? Several approaches can help you elicit information from jurors:
Developing a Rapport with Jurors
Establishing a positive relationship with jurors brings about major benefits. To start with, jurors become more open and direct in their answers. Secondly, your positive impression fostered by rapport boosts your persuasiveness at trial.
To develop a positive relationship:
Build a positive relationship with your jurors and understand their concerns. Hence, you should consider developing questions that give jurors a chance to talk about themselves as well as their views.
It is imperative that you educate jurors on vital issues and decision-making criteria. Often times, jurors come to court with misconstructions about what their role as jurors will be as well as what the law stipulates.
As such, education helps recognize how jurors process information. If they’ve misconceptions about important issues, they’ll certainly filter information during the trial based on these misconceptions. Thus, you need to correct these misconceptions early, to avoid erroneous conclusions by jurors.
Jury selection may sound like a daunting process, but all you need is the right strategy. If you pay attention to these three tips, you’ll make the most of the jury selection and seat the best jury.
I was just retained by a father and son who were assaulted by police officers assigned to the 60th precinct on September 3, 2010. This incident occurred in the back of a building located on West 27th street in Brooklyn. This incident began when the police officers arrested the son without a warrant and without probable cause that he committed a crime. After his arrest and while he was in handcuffs, the police officers began to beat him according to witness statements. Witnesses to this event contacted the parents who rushed to the scene. Once there, the parents of this young man witnessed the police beating their son as he was lying on the ground with his hands behind his back in handcuffs. The father then approached the cops to ask why this was happening and was repeatedly punched in the face by the police officers who then place him in handcuffs as well. The mother, who works for law enforcement, then approached the police officer and asked, “why are you doing this?” She was then told to shut the fuck up or be arrested. Both father and son were charged with nonsense crimes and taken to the 60th precinct where they were further abused and assaulted. The charges were later dropped or dismissed and both are receiving treatment for injuries they sustained as a result of this incident. What does an incident like this say about the current culture of the NYPD?
I was recently retained to represent two young black males who were denied entry to the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in NYC on September 17, 2010. According to the males, they were both denied entry because of a dress code despite the fact that both were well dressed. Both males claim that the bouncer let in white males that were not dressed as nice. This incident is similar to the one involving New York City police officer Aubrey Henry who claims to have been denied access to the Bowling Alley on February 27, 2010. Mr Aubrey’s lawsuit against the bowling alley is pending in Federal court. Do you think places of public acomodation can deny access to people based on their gender, the color of their skin or on their race? Do you think Clubs and other places of public acomodation are using dress codes as a pretext to exclude for other reasons?
I was recently retained by a young black male who was assaulted and battered in his Brooklyn apartment by several members of the New York City police department. When he ran to his window to call for help, he was violently pushed out of his window and on to a fire escape. The police officers then threw him off of the fire escape to the ground below. To make matters worse, the police officers then dragged the man for some unknown reason. The police officers then intentionally failed to call for medical assistance. A notice of claim, a prerequisite to bringing a lawsuit against the City, was filed last week. Additionally, complaints were filed with the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Civilian Complaint Review Board who are performing an investigation of this matter. Does this outrage you as much as it does me?
Nassau County officials are investigating a Jamaica man’s accusation that police officers assaulted him in a police precinct last October.
Darius Burris, 39, filed a notice of claim in January accusing six Nassau officers of inserting a bullet into his rectum to humiliate him during a struggle in the “basement area of the detective squad area” of the Sixth Precinct in Manhasset on Oct. 21.
“They shackled me and took my shoes off my feet,” Burris said, adding that officers held him down on his back, someone put their knee on his chest and “something was stuck up my rectum.”
Burris is at the Nassau County jail on charges stemming from the October incident and an earlier incident.
Police spokesman Det. Sgt. Anthony Repalone declined to comment on the notice of claim.
Carole Trottere, a spokeswoman for Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice , confirmed the
Burris said he was taken to Nassau University Medical Center because of injuries he sustained during the scuffle and that he complained to doctors.
Medical records from Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow summarize X-rays showing a “bullet-like foreign body in the rectum” on Oct. 22 and in later progress reports until Oct. 28, when the object was removed. The records were given to Newsday by attorney John Nonnenmacher of Manhattan , who filed the notice of claim.
“There has not been an action to dehumanize somebody in this regard since the case of Abner Louima ,” Nonnenmacher said, referring to the 1997 case involving New York City officers who rammed a broken broomstick into Louima’s rectum in a police station in Brooklyn .
One officer in the Louima case was convicted of criminal charges and sentenced to a 30-year prison term.
“And this case, like the Abner Louima case,” Nonnenmacher continued, “is beyond outrageous.”
On Oct. 21, Burris was arrested in a Dix Hills home on a warrant for violating an order of protection filed by a former girlfriend, he said. The order of protection had been issued in Nassau.
“He was taken from Suffolk County to Nassau County and was then assaulted and sodomized while in police custody,” Nonnenmacher said.
Stemming from the Oct. 21 incident, Burris faces charges of second-degree criminal mischief, first-degree criminal contempt, second-degree aggravated harassment and first-degree assault.
Burris has been arrested multiple times and convicted of assault, forgery, possession of stolen property, robbery, menacing and other offenses. He has served jail and prison time.
Burris admits to having been arrested and convicted of other crimes but he said that those incidents do not justify his treatment and have nothing to do with his litigation.