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Have case where defendant ran red light and struck another vehicle, killing the driver. Eye witnesses from both perspectives agree that defendant simply drove through intersection w/o ever stopping (until striking other vehicle).

Day light, good weather, etc.

Anyone have good ideas regarding voir dire on issue of definition of criminal negligence?
Posts: 70 | Location: Sinton, Texas, USA | Registered: January 20, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Don't know your facts but I would somehow identify and weed out all the people who fly through the light as it turns red and then claim they were in the intersection before it turned red. Again, your facts may be more egregious than that but this is a situation akin to there but for the grace of God go I in DWI cases. The everyone does it defense in other words.
Posts: 283 | Location: Montague, Texas, USA | Registered: January 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with Tim: you need to look for the venire members who think that running a red light is not "a gross deviation" from normal careful driving. You want to separate the "normal" conduct of your juror from the conduct you intend to present on the part of your defendant.

You might try asking a bias question along the lines of whether any jurors feel like current traffic laws are too lenient or too harsh, or whether the perception of the jurors is that the enforcement of traffic laws should be increased, decreased, or remain as it is. This may give you some idea of the jurors who have had trouble driving within the laws, and those jurors on the other hand who may be frustrated with seeing other people violate them freely.

I also think your best juror is going to be someone who is frustrated by the number of people who get away with violating traffic laws. You might ask whether any jurors have ever made a report against another driver in the past. You might ask whether anyone has ever observed another driver go through a red light before (as we practically all have) and what was their reaction. The ones you want are the ones who say "I wondered where was a cop when you need one?"

You also might try asking some questions along the lines of how jurors feel about punishing a person for the consequences of their acts when those consequences were not intended. For example, a DWI is a misdemeanor, but if you kill someone, it's a felony, even though the conduct of the defendant is the same, only the consequences are different. You might use that example to get people around to the idea that we commonly punish people more harshly for committing acts with the same degree of culpability if the consequences turn out to be worse. Jurors who think that is wrong would be bad jurors for you. Jurors who embrace the idea will be the ones you want to keep, since they will be more apt to focus on the victim than on the defendant.[/QUOTE]
Posts: 622 | Location: San Marcos | Registered: November 13, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I cases where I am trying something out of the ordinary, I have had some luck in finding voir dire hypos by reading sufficiency cases on point.
Posts: 723 | Location: Fort Worth, TX, USA | Registered: July 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Dennis Foster>
Here in San Antonio, red light running is something that happens at every street corner. So much so that even when the light turns green for you, you pause for a second or two just to make sure some idiot is not in the process of running the red light.

So you might ask questions about whether or not someone feels that red light running is common in the community. I would think that their perception would be a good indicator as to how they feel about the issue, and whether or not they are an honest juror (because if you live there, you should have your own ideas about how big of a deal red light running is and if their response is way off base w/ what you know, that should give you a clue about them). If someone feels that there is not a real problem with red light running and you know that not to be true or mostly true, you probably would not want them on the jury. But if someone thinks that it happens all the time or too much, then they would be a "keeper".

At least that is my opinion.
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