What most lawyers forget to tell clients before trial
The first thing you have to remember is that jurors are normal people like you and me. In that regard, first impressions are important. When you were dating the first impression of the girl or guy you just met often controlled what would happen in your relationship... or if there would be one. If the other party was dressed well or were well groomed on that date it may have made a difference. Were the guys shoes polished or scuffed? Was his belt old and falling apart? Were his fingernails clean (or was polish coming off her nails or show that he or she had bitten them down to the nubs?) In other words dress the way you would for church.
I tell my clients on accident cases, DUI's and transactional matters like corporate business matters, real estate etc. that when they get within a few miles of the court they should become the most courteous driver around as that person next to you may become a juror. Since most people will drive down Hwy 111 you never know if the person on your side or behind you in Rancho Mirage will also be turning Right on Oasis too when they get to the Larson Justice Center. If you cut them off in Indian Wells or flipped them off in La Quinta they may remember you though you may not remember them. They are often the person driving next to you who observed you talking on your phone or being a discourteous driver. I suggest to my client that when they get to the courthouse they should say good morning to everyone as you do not know if THEY will be your jurors.
I advise my clients that they not drive an expensive car. You do not want to stand out as someone wealthy who does not need the money you are asking for or that is being asked of you. That includes not having you or your wife and family attending the trial in expensive suits, dresses and jewelry. The last trial I had in LA before I moved here almost 20 years ago was someone who worked for Disney in Burbank who was rear ended and seriously injured. He had gone to an expert Ortho in Century City with a National reputation. The defense had a well-manicured orthopedist who had been retired for 15 years with beautiful, well groomed white hair who looked like Dr. Marcus Welby (for those of you old enough to remember that TV show.)
Our doctor testified to a surgical procedure he utilized that was so new the defense doctor had never heard of it. People in the court room were laughing at the doctor and court personnel were also smirking during his testimony that was obviously out dated. This trial was shortly after the 1994 earthquake in LA and the Van Nuys court was using trailers as the courtrooms were not safe. If you happened to have stomach problems and were using the bathroom it was on the other side of the wall to the jury room and you could hear snippets of what they were saying.
We were shocked when we overheard comments from the jurors who came to the defense of the doctor who looked so professional. They also talked about my client's wife and daughters wearing very expensive dresses and jewelry. They commented, did you see the dress and jewelry the girls were wearing? They do not need the extra money. In other words they came to the defense of the doctor who was so well groomed.
I tell all my clients on accidents and DUI's to take down their social media while the case is going on. The newest thing is for the defense in an accident case or the DA in a DUI to Facebook etc. the party. If arrested for an accident having the plaintiff post that they were drag racing a vet down Frank Sinatra last night, is not going to help their case. Likewise pictures of the Plaintiff playing tennis or golf or touch football at the beach is not consistent with their complaint that they were so sore they could not do anything. Likewise playing in a game at Big League Dreams Ball Park is inconsistent with their complaints. On a DUI's arrest having pictures with drinks in the defendants hand or a comment that they got so drunk last night....cannot help their case. Though jurors are not supposed to use computers to check anything out, we find that some jurors will look you up on Facebook and other social media and that can only hurt you.
In the past the defense would utilize sub rosa investigations by a private investigator who would take pictures of the defendant carrying the garbage out or running and playing football with their kids could only hurt their case. In this age of computers it is more important than ever before to not say you cannot do something and then be caught doing so. That could sink your case.
Dale Gribow has been "Rated" TOP LAWYER by Palm Springs Life Magazine from 2011-2019 and has a Superb Avvo Legal Rating. Dale Gribow has been Man of the Year 7 times including the City of Palm Desert and the City of Hope and Dale Gribow Day has been declared 4 times.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his new number 760-565-0533.