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May 23, 2011

Wezen-Ball

Voir Dire and the New York Giants

by Larry Granillo

For the lawyers out there, here's a brief letter to the editor in the May 25, 1983, edition of the New York Times. The letter was written by Burt Neuborne, the then Legal Director of the ACLU, and was in response to two issues that were in the news at the time: a recent op-ed "apologia for the Brooklyn Dodgers" and a debate over the right for lawyers to conduct their own voir dire.

Before 1957, New York lawyers chose juries inexpensively and expeditiously by asking just one question: What baseball team do you root for?

If the juror answered, "Yankees," the defense exercised a peremptory challenge. If the juror said, "Dodgers," the prosecution exercised the challenge. But Giants fans were eminently acceptable to both sides, under a tacit understanding that they were the only reasonable people in town.

Not being from 1950s-era New York City, I'm going to guess that the prejudices at play here are roughly "Yankees = cutthroat rich guys", "Dodgers = liberal hippies", and "Giants = Mets". Sound reasonable to me.

Whatever the case, I love the bit of color the story adds. I know that would have made the voir dire during my jury duty much more enjoyable. Thanks for the letter, Burt Neuborne!

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<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (05/23)
<< Previous Column
Wezen-Ball: "The Last ... (05/21)
Next Column >>
Wezen-Ball: Collisions... (05/27)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Power Tr... (05/23)

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