‘Breakdown' S02 Ep. 4: Deciding the case before it begins?


The most famous trial lawyers are known for their soaring oratory or for being flamboyant or combative or fast on their feet. But some of the most successful attorneys are the ones who know how to pick a jury.

In the trial of Justin Ross Harris, jury selection is a long and often tedious process that the public isn't paying much attention to. The courtroom is often only half-full. But some experts believe that the outcome of a trial is often sealed not by dramatic testimony or persuasive closing arguments, but by jury selection. In such cases, that is to say, the case is over before testimony ever begins.

This is Episode 4 of the second season of "Breakdown -- Death in a Hot Car: Mistake or Murder?," the AJC's exclusive podcast. Legal affairs writer Bill Rankin talks to attorneys who say that jury selection is always important, but in the Harris case it's absolutely crucial.

Rankin takes up another key issue in the trial: whether people really can forget that their children are in the back of the car and unwittingly leave them there. We reflexively say "no!" But a leading expert in memory and behavior offers a much more nuanced view.


 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

THE LATEST: Fire destroys DeKalb County day care
THE LATEST: Fire destroys DeKalb County day care

Parents are scrambling to find child care after a fire ripped through a DeKalb County day care and caused the roof to collapse early Monday. The fire that shut down the day care was reported about 2 a.m. at Star Child Learning and Development in the 4000 block of Covington Highway, according to Channel 2 Action News. DeKalb fire battalion chief James...
Heavy rain moves through metro Atlanta
Heavy rain moves through metro Atlanta

Tomorrow: Scattered showers. High: 70 Roads are slick, trees are down and some people are in the dark due to heavy rain across metro Atlanta. “If you think it has rained a lot,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said early Monday, “it has.” Since midnight, Atlanta has gotten 1.35 inches of rain, &ldquo...
Lawrenceville approves new assisted living/senior living facility
Lawrenceville approves new assisted living/senior living facility

The Lawrenceville City Council recently approved zoning changes and a permit request to build an assisted living/independent senior living facility on property that fronts the eastern side of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, adjacent to the southern side of the railroad right-of-way. The land is presently undeveloped and wooded. The applicant, Medical Partners...
Duluth accepting applications for youth police academy
Duluth accepting applications for youth police academy

Applications are being accepted now for the 2018 Duluth Youth Police Academy. The program is designed to educate middle and high school students that live in Duluth about the police department and how officers enforce local and state laws. The goal is to create and develop a relationship with students and give them an opportunity to learn about the...
Gardens police on lookout for woman’s dog stolen from Petco 
Gardens police on lookout for woman’s dog stolen from Petco 

Police are investigating a possible dognapping which took place Saturday at a Petco in Palm Beach Gardens. According to Palm Beach Gardens police, the owner of an 11-year-old Maltese mix named “Teddy” dropped him off for grooming services at the Petco on Legacy Avenue. At approximately 7:53 p.m., a white female with black hair...
More Stories