Illinois Bar Journal


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Articles on Juries

Voir Dire: New Research Challenges Old Assumptions By Frank P. Andreano September 2007 Article, Page 474 Research shows that juror attitudes toward hot-button issues like tort reform are better predictors of bias than demographic factors.
A trio of Illinois Supreme Court Rule amendments By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2007 LawPulse, Page 230 The court amended rules governing the format of appellate briefs, appeals from circuit court rulings, and voir dire examinations in criminal cases.
Jury trials for divorce? By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2007 LawPulse, Page 118 An Illinois bill would bring jury trials back to contested divorce. The ISBA Family Law Section Council thinks that's a bad idea.
Opening Statements: Soup for the Jury’s Soul By Hon. Ron Spears February 2007 Column, Page 102 A good opening statement will shape jurors' perception of the case.
Reforming the Civil Jury System in Illinois: The 2006 Allerton Conference By Jeffrey A. Parness November 2006 Article, Page 608 Should jurors be given instructions at the start of civil trials? Should they be more free to ask questions? Find out what the Allerton conferees think.
Correspondence from Our Readers August 2006 Column, Page 394 Nothing beats voir dire for learning about jurors; What is a rule of thumb?
Background checks for jurors? By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2006 LawPulse, Page 278 A federal judge and some state's attorneys offer their varying viewpoints about how far to go to determine whether prospective jurors are coming clean. 
Confronting Judge-Imposed Time Limits on Voir Dire By Rodney R. Nordstrom March 2006 Article, Page 142 Here's how to make the most of the time you've granted for voir dire, no matter how limited.
Thinking Outside the Roasting Pan About Peremptories By Hon. Ron Spears November 2005 Column, Page 594 Are you relying on stereotypes about jury behavior when you exercise peremptory challenges?
Check the Web before drafting jury instructions By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2005 LawPulse, Page 498 The chair of the supreme court's jury instructions committee advises litigators to check the court's website for revised IPI instructions.
A jury’s determination of first degree murder and a trial court’s imposed sentence are accorded great deference September 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 446 On June 30, 2005, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the defendant's murder conviction, which he received following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Jury Deselection By Hon. Ron Spears August 2005 Column, Page 420 You don't pick who serves on your jury – you pick who doesn't.
Giving Jurors What They Want By Hon. Ron Spears May 2005 Column, Page 260 Jurors want to do a good job. Let's help them.
New IPI instructions are free on the Web By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2005 LawPulse, Page 162 Sign up with the supreme court to get notice every time a new IPI instruction is made available.
Trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering defendant to walk in front of the jury to demonstrate a possible limp January 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 On November 12, 2004, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Champaign County, which required the defendant to walk in front of the jury to show whether he had a limp when he walked. 
Breach of fiduciary duty is an equitable action for which no constitutional right to a jury trial exists October 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 514 On July 8, 2004, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of DuPage County to strike a defendant-beneficiary's demand for a jury trial.
Trial courts have no obligation to sua sponte issue an involuntary manslaughter instruction February 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 70 On November 20, 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court that found that the trial court had abused its discretion when it failed to sua sponteissue an involuntary manslaughter instruction to the jury. 
Jury instruction revisions now on the Web By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2003 LawPulse, Page 594 You'll find revisions to IPI instructions on the supreme court's Web site before they appear in hard copy.
How to Find Jury Instructions By Phill Johnson July 2003 Column, Page 361 Jury instructions aren't hard to find in print, but you'll have less luck searching online.
Small juries are beautiful By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2003 LawPulse, Page 110 Six-person juries are easier to pick, more responsive to case themes, and more likely to reach a unanimous verdict, some criminal defense lawyers say.
Child abduction statute and jury instructions did not require jury to consider mother’s knowledge of child’s whereabouts in determining father’s guilt; trial court did not abuse discretion in not providing jury with common definition of word “concealed” January 2003 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 On October 22, 2002, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, affirmed the order of the circuit court of Cook County convicting the defendant of child abduction.
Painting a Picture for the Jury: A Juror’s Perspective By Shelley Rice Weinberg August 2002 Column, Page 427 Like most lawyers called to jury duty, the author found the experience eye-opening.
Trial court committed plain error when it gave a jury instruction with “or” instead of “and” between five factors used to balance the weight given to eyewitness testimony February 2002 Illinois Law Update, Page 66 On November 26, 2001, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversed the defendant's first-degree murder and attempt (first-degree murder) convictions and remanded the case for a new trial.
Correspondence from Our Readers December 2001 Column, Page 614 Direct questioning by lawyers; the way it used to be.
Failure of jury instructions to specify a finding on quantity of drugs, while erroneous, was harmless error given the overwhelming evidence supporting the sentence November 2001 Illinois Law Update, Page 568 On September 7, 2001, the seventh circuit court of appeals affirmed the defendant's convictions for several drug-related possession and distribution charges and his prison sentence of 468 months.
Failure to give jury instruction on witness believability was an abuse of discretion when a police officer testified to material facts omitted from his written report October 2001 Illinois Law Update, Page 516 On August 16, 2001, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, held that the trial court abused its discretion when it refused to accept the defendant's requested jury instruction on witness believability.
Voir Dire: Do Parties Have an Absolute Right to Directly Question Prospective Jurors? By Scott D. Lane October 2001 Article, Page 535 In first district civil cases, the answer is yes -- as long as the questioning is "reasonable."
The Lawyer’s Journal By Bonnie C. McGrath July 2001 Column, Page 338 Golfers in the (legal) news; capital punishment and the mentally retarded; and more.
The Lawyer’s Journal By Bonnie C. McGrath January 2001 Column, Page 10 Standard of review for fee suits; U.S. Supremes just say no to drug-sniffing dogs at checkpoints; employee claims rejected by 7CA; and more.
Impeaching Jury Verdicts for Juror Misconduct and Prejudicial Influence By Hon. Denise M. O’Malley October 2000 Article, Page 568 A judge's perspective on how courts do—and should—respond to alleged juror misconduct and prejudice.