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17 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 197 (1993-1994)
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall ...: Body Language, Intuition, and the Art of Jury Selection

handle is hein.journals/amjtrad17 and id is 205 raw text is: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall ..:
Body Language, Intuition,
and the Art of Jury Selection
Herald Price Fahringert
I. Introduction
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? The
wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs who uttered
those words was obsessed with receiving reassurance of her pre-eminent
beauty. However, I suspect that every trial lawyer has sought similar
reassurance for the fairest of them all in an unending quest for a
favorable jury. And at times, our approach to the problem of acquiring
a suitable jury has embodied about as much science as the Queen's
Jury selection is the most significant part of any trial because it is
during this complex ceremony that we choose those who will decide
the controversy. Acknowledged experts in the field believe that eighty-
five percent of the cases litigated are won or lost when the jury is
selected! This startling statistic points up the importance of counsel's
ability to choose an appropriate jury. After all, most lawyers will admit
that they are seeking a partisan advantage.
Jury selection is like nothing else we do. It is an act of conjuration,
a branch of magic if you will, in which we attempt the impossible-
predicting human behavior. Voir dire is the most agonizing part of
our work because of the many imponderables. Our choices are so
arbitrary. It is without logic. And no matter how careful we are, too
many of us have been the victim of sad verdicts that did not match the
faces of those who returned them. And now, to make matters worse,
many who govern our court systems view voir dire as a central drain
t B.A. (1950), M.A. (1951), Pennsylvania State University; ID. (1956), State University
of New York, Buffalo. The author is the resident New York City partner in the Buffalo law
firm of Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria. While specializing in criminal
law, Mr. Fahringer has defended such people as Claus von Bulow, Jean Harris, and Larry Flynt.

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