One of our practice areas, in addition to business litigation and employment law, is sports law. So it was that, in my review of sports law blogs, I came across AthletesinCourt, published by Davis & Hoss, P.C. of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It turns out that Bryan Hoss, one of the name partners, went to my undergrad alma mater, Denison University, so these guys must know what they're doing. Right?
What caught my eye was this post on considerations in jury selection in the Roger Clemens perjury trial. There's nothing like a high profile case involving a celebrity to bring the subtleties of law practice into focus for the layman.
As the post points out:
In the end it is the opinions of these few individuals that will matter: not Clemens, not the US Attorney, and respectfully not even Judge Walton's opinion compares to the power of a jury.
And so the post lists many things that both the prosecution and defense must consider to determine the types of citizens whom they want — and as importantly, do not want — on the Clemens jury. (I was particularly amused by the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Clemens would want both Barry Bonds and Alberto Contador as jurors, if only they were available. The jury, I suppose, is still out on Lance Armstrong.) (Sorry.)
While the Clemens case is a criminal prosecution, every lawyer in every jury trial, including employment law civil jury trials, is faced with the same decision as the lawyers in that case. Who do we want on the jury? Who do we not want? What kind of person is likely to be sympathetic to a plaintiff who claims that she was discriminated or retaliated against? What kind of person is likely to think that corporate wrongs against employees should be conservatively — or lavishly — compensated?
It's worth 2 or 3 minutes to read the post on the Clemens case, because it will help to bring into focus the ways in which different kinds of jurors can view the same facts in different ways and reach completely different conclusions. And whether you are an athlete, a wronged employee, or a business owner, in that difference often lies the gulf between victory and defeat.