DWI Jury Selection

I’m going to talk to you guys — and the State just did. I’m going to ask you a bunch of personal questions on your feelings and thoughts. So before I thought I’d start peppering you with questions and start asking you stuff, I thought I’d introduce myself.
My name is Phillip Hall. I’m an attorney. I got licensed in November of 2014. This is my co-counsel, Daniel Hernandez. He went to TCU undergrad and Wesleyan Law. And I went to Wesleyan and A&M ended up buying us. And I went to UCLA for undergrad.
My client works in construction. He works for a company that installs cables in buildings and his company has contracts with AT&T. His wife, Catherine, is watching this trial. They’ve been married for three years and they do not have any children.
Before I begin, you will notice that the Court has provided us an interpreter. My client’s native language is Spanish and this is a very, very, very important time and day for my client. It’s important that he understands everything that is being said, everything that the State says and everything that the judge says.
Does anybody have any issues — and it is absolutely okay to tell me. Right now would be the time to be honest. Does anybody have any issues with my client using an interpreter or speaking Spanish? Everybody okay with it? Okay. And if you do, it’s perfectly okay to tell me now and I will tell you why.
I’m going to tell you a little bit about voir dire. And I’m going to tell you how it works. So let’s say we’re asking questions and going through — and I can’t talk about the facts. But let’s just say, Ms. Perales, I really like you. I think you’re a nice person and I’ve liked your answers and I liked the responses you were giving.
Each side gets three opportunities to strike people for any other reason. Based on responses, can’t be based on, obviously, ethnicity or gender. But just say, you know, I don’t like her answers. So the State knows and says, you know what, I really like Ms. Perales. So they will use one of their strikes to strike you. And the same goes for us. Say, you know what, I’m not really sure how, if they could be a fair juror in our case. So we may use our strikes. Each side gets three strikes.
If you say you can’t follow the law, then you’re not eligible to be a juror. And it’s perfectly okay. The judge earlier said Chisholm Trail; he doesn’t think that you should be limited to drive 50 miles an hour if you’re paying, right? So the judge would probably not be a good juror in a case where somebody got a speeding ticket on Chisholm Trail.
Here’s another example. Anybody know who that is? That’s a cartoon. Yes. Is it Ms. Anthony? Yes. Would you tell me what you’re seeing here?
MR. PHILLIP HALL: I’m sorry. The court reporter has to take it down.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Thank you very much. Can you tell me a little bit about Michael Vick?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: He was a football player accused of fighting animals at his house.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Right. And I’m showing you a picture of Michael Vick, looks like he’s in court, and we have some jurors in the jury box. Can you describe the jury box with the jurors in the jury box?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: They’re all dogs.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Right. Do you think they’d be a good juror to sit on an animal fighting case?
MR. Phillip HALL: Right. And so we bring that up and I bring that to your attention because I will share a personal story with you. When I was in law school, I had an old ’78 Chevy El Camino that my father sold to me. I worked on it, put a bunch of money into it. And my grandfather actually sold it to my dad when he went into the Navy. My dad was a fighter pilot and my grandfather was a fighter pilot in the Navy.
Well, I walk out, first week of law school exams, I’m stressed, and my muscle car is missing. So I’m like, well, I don’t remember moving it, but I’m sure it’s just on a different parking floor. Nope. Somebody stole it. It was never recovered. I would not make a good juror on a case where a vehicle was stolen. I could be a perfectly okay juror on a different case. Maybe, I don’t know, plenty of other cases I could be — maybe assault or something. But burglary of a vehicle or theft of a vehicle or something, I probably would not be a good juror for.
So I bring that to your attention because — and I understand that some shared they had personal experiences with family members and things, coworkers that had DWI’s. And I think you would like to be a fair juror. We all like to be fair people. But our mindset is a little bit clouded by our personal experiences. Because, let’s be honest, you guys don’t leave your common sense and you don’t leave your past experience at the door, right? Can everybody agree with that? Okay.
So just to clear up, does anybody know my client? Anybody know his family? I just introduced his wife, but anybody knows his family?
Jury service is supposed to be a very personal thing, especially for the person sitting in this seat over here, my client. Years and years and years ago when the Constitution was ratified, the government would go travel around and prosecute people. And I think the largest town at the time was like 6,000 people. Anybody ever has been to a town of about 6,000 people. Sir, you have?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, St. James, Missouri.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: And how was St. James, Missouri?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Everybody knew everybody.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Right. Okay. And so the government was going to come in at this time years and years ago, hundreds of years ago, and they were going to prosecute somebody for a crime. They said if you’re going to come to our town and prosecute somebody, possibly seek the death penalty, it is the government’s responsibility to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each and every single element of the offense of the crime, right?
The defense can sit here. We can sit here and we can put our feet up on the table and do absolutely nothing because the presumption of innocence stands right now.
Anybody here can switch places with my client and there would be absolutely no difference, because right now, if I would ask you guys to vote, how would you vote?
VENIRE PANEL: Not guilty.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: And you said innocent, ma’am. And there is such a thing. But in a criminal trial, it’s guilty or it’s not guilty. Either the government did their job in convincing you that my client was operating a motor vehicle on a public road and while he was operating a motor vehicle, he was intoxicated.
I will give you guys an example. So let’s just say I had a blue tie on right now. But when the State, when Mr. De La Cruz was speaking, I had a blue tie on. Or — I’ve already confused myself.
MR. HERNANDEZ: You have a red tie on, had a blue tie on.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Let’s just say I had a blue tie on, right, when Mr. De La Cruz was talking and I have a red tie on now. And it’s against the law for me to have a blue tie while I’m doing the presentation. And you guys say, well, you had a blue tie on in the first part of the presentation. Am I guilty of that offense?
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Why is that?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No, I’m just messing with you.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: That’s all right.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I just said yeah. Don’t pay me no mind today.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No. Because you said while you were giving the presentation you couldn’t wear the blue tie; is that correct?
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Right. They have to prove that at the time, now that I’m wearing a red tie, that I was not wearing that color tie when Darren was doing the presentation. Do you see what I’m saying? So let me clear it up. I think I’ve confused everybody. That’s what happens when you do it wrong.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Drop the tie. Okay.
Drinking and driving, right? Does everybody understand — I’m going to clarify — it is not against the law to drink and drive? Does everybody understand that?
What do you think about that, what I just said?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: That it’s not against the law?
MR. PHILLIP HALL: To drink and drive.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I mean, now that you said — I mean — okay. I think that the — I mean, again — I have a drink and I drive home. But I don’t get drunk to where it’s just ridiculous. Like I know when I’m, you know, that that’s enough. You know, like — and it’s occasional — but to the point where I know it is a law and I do respect that law. I just don’t go to that extent because I know that it’s not something I want to be caught doing even if I don’t overload it.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: You’re right. It is against the law to drive while you are intoxicated. And as the State got up here and said, they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that while you’re driving a car — and they have to prove that he was driving — that you were above a .08, you had lost mental or physical faculties, your mental or physical faculties.
If they don’t prove one of those three levels of intoxication, they haven’t done their job and it’s an automatic not guilty. Does everybody see that? And I just want to make absolutely sure everybody understands that. I’m not up here condoning drinking and driving. You know, I tell everybody take Uber, call a taxi, call a friend. But today is my client’s day in court and this is the first time that you guys get to review the case. This is the first time that somebody actually gets to sit and evaluate everything. This is his day in court.
How many came in here before you saw the charge and said I wonder what my client did? Nobody? You can be honest.
All right. Mr. Duehning?
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Tell me, what did you think when you came in here, when you saw my client sitting right here?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Well, usually when you come to court it’s for something, you know. And so if I’m completely being honest, you know, I wondered what happened, why am I in here. Obviously I’m here for a reason. What is that reason?
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Sure. Okay. Ms. Anthony.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I would say it’s the human nature to just be curious about what happened, what allegedly happened.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Absolutely. Mr. Echevarria, what did you think when you came in here and saw my client sitting over here?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Well, I mean, obviously we’re here for a reason. When I came in, I wasn’t sure what obviously, because I don’t know anything. But we’re obviously — we’re here for a reason, so he might or allegedly did something.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Exactly. Allegedly or might. Because as of right now, and I keep emphasizing it, but I really want to hit home because in other countries if you get arrested, you are guilty until you prove that you are innocent. Okay. We don’t have that system in this country. You’re innocent, and my client is innocent right now as he sits until the government proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of driving while intoxicated.
And I want to talk a little bit about the charge. He’s charged with driving while intoxicated and a result, a breath test that came back at above a .15. But it’s the government’s job to prove to you that at the time he was driving the vehicle he was intoxicated, he was driving a vehicle on a public roadway and it was above a .15. And as we talked about it earlier, the range of punishment is a Class A misdemeanor.
And I know somebody had asked a question about whether they had previous DWI’s or what were the facts of the case. And I can’t go over the facts of the case. But we can do process of elimination. If my client had killed somebody, this would be a felony. We would not be in this court. If my client had seriously injured somebody in this case, it would be intoxicated assault or possibly intoxicated manslaughter and it would be a felony.
If this were a second DWI, My client would’ve been charged with DWI misdemeanor repetition. So by process of elimination, we know it’s a first. I can’t go into the facts, but I can give you that much.
So do you think it should be somebody’s job to prove themselves innocent or somebody who is accusing you of a crime to prove that you did it? Sir?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Prove yourself innocent.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Prove yourself innocent? So let’s say we go out to lunch and I say, you know what, you stole my wallet. And I tell PJ, the bailiff over here, and I say, PJ, he stole my wallet, I want him arrested.
Do you think you should have to hire an attorney and prove yourself innocent? Or should I be the one required to show and prove that you stole my wallet?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I would have to get a lawyer.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: Of course, that’s how the system works. You’re going to have to get a lawyer. How do you think it should be? Do you think that you should prove your innocence or do you think that I should prove it?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: You should prove that I did it.
MR. PHILLIP HALL: And that’s what we have here.
Anybody have any thoughts on that? Ma’am?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I guess I feel like you should always hear both sides. Because if I knew you and I’m starting to assume that you&

Los Abogados
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez