Jury Selection Strategy: What Prosecutors, Defense Look For in Jurors

With five jurors now seated on the Jason Van Dyke trial, there are another seven spots to fill – and a lot of questions:

Who should the prosecution and defense teams deem desirable in a pool of about 200 prospective jurors?

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Could seeing protesters on your way to the courthouse affect your opinion?

And what if a juror has seen the now infamous police dashcam video of Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald in October 2014? What if they haven’t?

“The thing to keep in mind is even though you might have an ideal juror, from either side’s standpoint, that means the other side is likely to knock that person off,” said Alan Tuerkheimer, founder of the Chicago-based jury consulting firm Trial Methods.

He said he would recommend the de-selection strategy.

“So what happens is that you end up with people in the middle who don’t appear too strongly to be predisposed to one side or the other,” he said.

Tuerkheimer, who has consulted for cases involving the City of Chicago and police-involved shootings, also said it’s important for either side to look for certain personality traits.

“People who make decisions emotionally are going to have a tough time getting past that video,” he said, referencing the dashcam video that was released in 2015.

“If I was advising the defense, I’d want people who have pro-law enforcement attitudes, people who, when they hear an officer’s testimony, they might give [the officer] a sense of heightened credibility,” he said. 

Tuerkheimer joins us to discuss jury selection strategy.

Related stories:

Van Dyke Case: First Jurors Selected as Murder Trial Gets Underway

Van Dyke Case: Defense Asks Judge to Toss Jury Pool Because of Protests

Van Dyke Case: Protesters Call for Justice as Murder Trial Begins

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