Truth be told, I actually like jury service, but I was scheduled to deliver a dear friend’s eulogy in the middle of the proposed trial dates. I decided to share specific facts about myself that I calculated would free me, temporarily, from my civic duty.
Imagine the four walls that surround you form a courtroom. The judge is sitting on his bench, I’m in the jury box directly in front of you because you are one of the attorneys – if that’s a demotion in your status pretend you’re an actor playing your part.
I was perspective juror number nine of a domestic violence case beginning the voire dire process. The judge requires each perspective juror to stand and answer ten questions. I only needed three to be pardoned: Name, marital status, and children.
“Thank you, your Honor, my name is Michael Varma. I am married, have no children but I do take care of a 19-year-old arthritic cat.
The judge asked, “Is it your cat or your wife’s?”
“And you take care of her cat?”
“Yes, I kind of married into the family.”
And that’s all it took. A few minutes later I was excused from jury duty. Just in case you don’t understand, let me help you connect the dots.
Who is my primary audience? By a process of elimination, it’s nobody in the jury box. The judge? Good guess, but no. He’d be considered my secondary audience. It’s you, he prosecution and or defense attorney.
What kind of case is this? A domestic violence case. Some guy allegedly got drunk and allegedly beat up his girlfriend.
And what kind of perspective juror am I? I’m a married man that takes care of his wife’s 19-year-old arthritic cat which makes me…whipped? Pathetic? No, it makes me a sympathetic juror.
Do the attorneys want me on the jury? No.
Do I get out of jury duty? Yes!
When you define your target audience you can create a classic win-win scenario. In my true tale, the attorneys win by removing a person that might feel negatively about his client’s actions and I win by escaping jury duty.
Your turn: What did you say to your audience to win your case?