Case Study: Guilty or Not Guilty: Does It Matter?
Dr. Jennifer Bauer has been asked by the defense attorney to assist in jury selection. The defendant is a battered wife who has been accused of murdering her abusive husband one night when he was drunk and became verbally abusive.
The defense attorney has also hired a prominent psychiatrist who has suggested that the defense attorney use the battered woman syndrome as a defense strategy. Dr. Bauer thinks that this is a poor decision since the syndrome evidence has not been very successful in court cases, and she believes that the argument would be more successful using posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a defense. However, she was hired to assist in jury selection and not to help develop the defense strategy. Additionally, the psychiatrist retained by the attorney has developed a career arguing the syndrome evidence in courts and is not very receptive to criticism.
Dr. Bauer reads through the discovery materials, including the evidence provided by the defense and the prosecution. Despite her empathy for battered women, Dr. Bauer feels that the weak defense strategy along with the strong evidence against the defendant will lead to a guilty verdict for the defendant.
During the voir dire process, Dr. Bauer decides that many of the potential jurors are not sympathetic toward the defendant. She decides that the only possibility is to hope for a mistrial by employing the poison pill strategy. She hopes to select jurors whose strong personality differences make them clash so much during the deliberations that they are unable to come to a unanimous verdict. Tasks:
In a minimum of 250 words, analyze the case study and address the following: How should Dr. Bauer proceed? Provide reasons to support your answer. Should she offer her advice regarding the syndrome evidence? Why or why not? Should she pursue the poison pill strategy? Why or why not?