QUESTION: Can’t the judge or the opposing attorney make sure the jurors are of more than one race? I’m not saying they made a mistake, but when you have civil rights involved can’t somebody do something about the racial mix of the jurors? Now we have everybody up in arms over the jury – but it is after the fact.

ANSWER: The simple answer is actually no. The problem is that the process of œpicking or selecting a jury (called voir dire) is in reality œde-selecting a jury. In other words, instead of picking the jurors that each side of the case want on a case, they actually strike or eliminate those that they do not want. Those potential jurors that are stricken have shown or indicated through their responses to questions in the jury selection process that they may have a bias towards or against one side of the case. In a criminal case like this one, the prosecution will strike those potential jurors who are less likely to find the defendant guilty, and the defense will strike those potential jurors who are more likely to find the defendant guilty. No strikes can be made based in whole or in part on the race of the potential juror, period.

The fact that this particular jury had no African Americans on it in no way means it was rigged or fixed, as that simply is not possible and does not happen in Harris County, Texas. It was an all white jury because of the people that showed up for jury duty, the random assignment of them to the court where that case was being tried, the random order given to the potential jurors that were in the group of jurors sent to that court for the jury selection process, and the bias that them may have shown towards one side or the other in this particular case. You see, every person called to jury duty is qualified to be a juror; not every person, however, is qualified to sit on a particular case because of their potential biases.

Lastly, every criminal defendant is entitled to a trial by jury before a jury of his peers. That means peers from his community. It does not mean persons of his same age, race, sex, social status, education, wealth, or religion.

The jury here rendered its verdict yesterday based on the evidence that it heard and saw in the courtroom, including the videotape that we all have seen many times. However, unless we had sat through the entire trial, heard and saw every piece of evidence, and observed the jury’s deliberations, we cannot know or appreciate how the jury reached its verdict. We can talk about it and second guess their verdict, but you can rest assured that nothing was or could have been done in this trial to rig or fix the jury so the officer would be found not guilty.

The New Battlefront

by Steve Sanderfer

At Bailey and Galyen, we are keenly aware of how the legal landscape changes. Through the years, we have always stayed one step ahead of those changes, and we have adapted to meet the challenges as they arise to better serve our clients.

Recently, several of the major insurance companies have declared war on YOU, the injured victim. All of these companies with their cute television ads and promises to be there for you actually don’t care about you at all.

The new tactic these companies use is to seriously undercut what you deserve for your accident, especially when your medical bills are less than $6,000. They hope that if they offer you thousands less than what your case is worth, you will drop your case. They also hope that your attorney will choose not to pursue further legal action in those cases. Their goal is to chase you, the victim, away and force law firms out of business.

But at Bailey and Galyen, we do not run. We fight.

Bailey and Galyen has always had a litigation department. And Bailey and Galyen’s litigation department will continue to be the finest litigation department in the state.

But to combat the new insurance company tactic, Bailey and Galyen now, in addition to its litigation department, will have a small claims department. This department will fight the litigation battles for those cases in which the medical bills are $6,000 and under. Where other firms might withdraw from those cases, B&G simply sees this as another way to fight for YOU.

And that is what Bailey and Galyen is all about.



The new tort reform banners proclaim that plaintiffs who lose civil trials should pay the attorneys fees and costs of the defendant. Mind you, they do not advocate that losing defendants also pay the winning plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and costs. The one way, loser pays street is a sure dead end for justice and access to the courthouse.

A one way loser pays law would do nothing more than prevent individuals and small business owners from redressing civil wrongs in the courts. The risk of having to pay the other side’s enormous legal fees and costs will prevent them for standing up for themselves. Sadly, that is exactly what loser pays laws are designed to do.

Loser pays severely harms small businesses by preventing them from filing lawsuits on past due accounts, breached contracts, partnership disputes, and the like. Unlike wealthy corporations, small business will not be able to afford the risk of losing at trial.

The fact is that taking a case to trial is no sure thing, not even for the best case. Lawyers cannot predict with any certainty whatsoever what a jury will do in any given case. Cases that were soundly based on the facts and the law are frequently lost in jury trials. The reason: The enormous amount of undue influence placed on Americans by tort reform groups, political candidates, corporations, and the like. Americans have been inundated with trial lawyer bashing and anti-plaintiff/anti-lawsuit rhetoric, little of which has any truth and are nothing more than wild, cleverly crafted stories.

When these very same Americans are called for jury duty, this undue influence that uses fear and threats to change public opinion morphs into jury tampering. Jurors bring to the courthouse and jury box their fears of doctors leaving the state if damages are not capped in malpractice cases, the cost of consumer goods rising from frivolous lawsuits, teachers quitting if parents are allowed to sue them (which cannot be done, anyway), the lose of jobs from lawsuits, and much more.

So when your state legislators seek to pass laws that make the losers pay the winner’s legal fees and costs, see if for what it is: Corporate immunity. When corporate America wins, Americans’™ access to the courthouse is blocked and we all loose.

In 30 years I have never filed a frivolous lawsuit, nor do I know any other trial lawyer who has. The reason is simple. It costs hundreds of dollars for the filing fees alone, followed by tens of thousands of dollars in costs for pre-trial preparation and trial and years of the attorneys’™ and their support staffs’ time and efforts.

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