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The Champion

December 2017 , Page 61 

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We, the Jury: The Sleeping Juror

By David Benowitz and Jay Ruane

All trial lawyers have faced this situation at least once in their careers. The lawyer is in trial. The client has been charged in a multicount indictment and faces the possibility of a long prison sentence if found guilty by the jury. The defense team is well prepared; counsel is focused on conducting a devastating cross-examination or on some other aspect of the trial. In fact, defense counsel is so focused that he fails to notice that for some time one of the jurors appears to have been asleep. What should counsel do?

Common Problem

Because of a variety of factors, a juror that is inattentive, intermittently dozing, or outright sleeping during trial is a common problem. In many jurisdictions, older people, who may tend to tire more easily, comprise a larger percentage of jury panels. Jurors sometimes have medical conditions that affect their energy levels. Some courthouses have dimly lit courtrooms, which increases the likelihood that jurors will fall asleep. Fina

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