Attorney Duty to Search Case.net for Juror Nondisclosure: Missouri Supreme Court Rule 69.025

By Constance, John | Missouri Law Review, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Attorney Duty to Search Case.net for Juror Nondisclosure: Missouri Supreme Court Rule 69.025


Constance, John, Missouri Law Review


Johnson v. McCullough, 306 S.W.3d 551 (Mo. 2010) (en banc) (per curiam).

I. INTRODUCTION

The term voir dire derives from the Latin phrase verum dicere, literally meaning "to speak the truth." (1) In American jurisprudence, voir dire has come to mean the pretrial questioning of venire members during which a judge or party is given the opportunity to ask the prospective jurors questions in an attempt to reveal their personal tendencies and possible biases. (2) Missouri courts have held that the right to a fair and impartial panel of twelve qualified jurors is the cornerstone of the judicial system. (3) As such, it is the duty of prospective jurors on voir dire examination to "fully, fairly, and truthfully answer all questions so that qualifications for service may be determined and challenges properly exercised." (4) Or, more simply, they must speak the truth.

Yet, history has shown that jurors are often not wholly honest and forthcoming when answering questions during voir dire, despite being under oath. (5) one study of Illinois criminal trials found that almost one in five prospective jurors withheld information during questioning. (6) Within civil trials, a recurrent issue before Missouri courts is whether a prospective juror's nondisclosure of prior litigation has led to an unfair verdict. (7)

Besides physically searching through thousands of court documents shelved in a clerk's office or waiting days for a response from an indexing bureau, disclosure during voir dire traditionally had been the only means by which a Missouri attorney could learn of a juror's prior litigation history. But with the advance of Internet technology and Missouri's subsequent implementation of an automated court record system through Case.net, Missouri attorneys now have a free and potentially easy means to search a prospective juror's litigation experience. (8)

In an attempt to reduce the number of retrials granted due to juror nondisclosure, the Supreme Court of Missouri mandated in Johnson v. McCullough that counsel search prospective jurors' litigation history on Case.net and bring reasonable suspicion of juror nondisclosure to the trial court's attention prior to jury empanelment. (9) An official court rule explaining the requirement was issued shortly after the Johnson decision, and it became effective on January 1, 2011. (10)

It is uncertain if Missouri trial courts can interpret the rule in a way that minimizes the burden on attorneys to perform a Case.net search while still maintaining the rule's purpose--averting the need for retrials due to juror nondisclosure of prior litigation experience. The rule explicitly requires attorneys to search a juror's litigation history on Case.net if they desire to preserve their clients' rights to post-trial relief for juror nondisclosure. (11) If attorneys have reasonable grounds to suspect juror nondisclosure after this search, they must bring the matter to the trial court's attention. (12) What the rule leaves unclear, however, is how exhaustive a Case.net search must be and how much evidence is needed to produce "reasonable grounds" for suspicion.

II. FACTS AND HOLDING

In April of 2008, following a unanimous jury verdict, the Circuit Court of Jackson County entered judgment in favor of Dr. J. Edward McCullough in a medical malpractice action brought by McCullough's former surgical patient, Phillip Johnson. (13) During voir dire, jurors were asked by Johnson's counsel, "Now not including family law, has anyone ever been a plaintiff or a defendant in a lawsuit before?" (14) While others answered affirmatively, venire member Maxine Mims remained silent. (15) Following the initial juror disclosures to the question, counsel asked the question again, "Now did I miss anyone here? I just want to make sure. No other people that have been, not including family law, a plaintiff or a defendant on any case? Let the record reflect that I see no additional hands. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Attorney Duty to Search Case.net for Juror Nondisclosure: Missouri Supreme Court Rule 69.025
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.