Jury Selection: The Problem Maryland Lawyers Have in Picking a Jury

Tricia Bishop has an article in the Baltimore Sun on how lawyers stereotype jurors in Maryland. The title of the article is “Stereotypes Confound Jury Selection” and the subtitle is “Bias assumptions seldom right; juror’s experiences called the best indicator.”

I disagree with the subtitle. I don’t think assumptions are “seldom right” but “usually right.” But usually, it is not 99%, it is more like 60%.

The bigger point that the article misses is that while juror experiences are the best indicator, Maryland has what is probably the least probative voir dire in the country, according to retired Howard County Judge Dennis M. Sweeney. So Maryland personal injury lawyers picking a jury have very limited means to determine juror experiences which leaves most Maryland lawyers making assumptions based on stereotypes that have varying degrees of accuracy depending on the stereotype. Of course, lawyers on both sides of the v are equally handicapped by this minimalist voir dire approach.