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Jury Duty Episode 2 | Opening Statements

McDivitt Law Firm breaks down the hilarious show Jury Duty and discusses elements that are relatable to a real-life courtroom experience.

During this episode we start to learn more about each of the characters and how they interact with each other during their initial time after being selected to serve on the jury. Each of the members of the jury has to deal with the challenge of being sequestered throughout the trial due to James Marsden’s attempts to get out of serving on the jury in episode 1. Two themes stand out that accurately reflect the real-world experience of serving on a jury, specifically a sequestered jury.

A Sequestered Jury

The first theme is centered around the sequestration of the jury during the trial. A sequestered jury is one that is kept together in a private location separate from their homes during the length of the trial. The reasoning for the sequestering can be for privacy reasons or to keep the jury away from any outside pressure regarding the case, specifically from media sources. Each of the characters are asked to write down any phone numbers that they will need to use throughout the trial and give up their phones to the bailiff. Also, they are all required to live in a hotel during the trial and are forced to live with and interact with the other members of the jury while outside of the courtroom.

After their phones were taken away, Ronald makes a comment to the camera that each of the members of the jury started interacting with each other and beginning to get to know one another. That is something that naturally happens when you are stuck in a room with people without any sort of technology, but even more so in this scenario where they are all under the same circumstances. Despite the differences in backgrounds and personalities, each of the jurors begin to develop relationships and start learning about their fellow members of the jury.

First Impressions

The second theme that is on display in this episode is how the jury reacts to the plaintiff and defendant during their first interactions with them, and how that might change throughout the trial. Since the attorneys and judge are actors, they are obviously playing up the part, but their initial interactions with the jury show how easily a first impression is made on the members of the jury. The best example of this occurs while each counsel makes their opening statements to the jury, and they could not have gone more differently. The plaintiff’s counsel has a well-prepared opening statement inclusive of a video of an animation recreating the incident alleged in the trial. She and her client were well received by the jury, and one quote from Ronald about the plaintiff was “She is well put together, composed, sits up straight and she carries a confidence to her demeanor.”

On the other hand, the defendant and defense attorney come off as unprepared, overworked, and overall unimpressive in the eyes of the jury. When the defense counsel attempts to give his opening statement and show his video to the jury he keeps running into technical issues and the judge decides to adjourn court for the day for him to be able to properly show his video. Eventually, the defense attorney can give his opening statement and when he starts, he pulls the wrong case file out of his bag and begins to give an opening statement about the wrong case. He also figured out how to show his video to the jury, but he is unable to have it play on the big screen and when it does play, he realizes that the video was not completed properly.

These two drastically different opening statements allow the jury to make their first impressions about the plaintiff and defendant. This is a great example of how important the first impression is for a jury and the parties to the lawsuit. The jury consists of the people who will be deciding the outcome of the case, and giving off a bad impression during the opening statement only creates an even larger hurdle for the attorney to represent their client and achieve their desired outcome.

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