Passing on knowledge
Standing O salutes the legal eagles who trained other officials in the jury selection process at a Downtown event last month. Hon. Ruth Shillingford, acting justice in Kings County Supreme Court, and Hon. Sylvia Ash, justice in Kings County Supreme Court, convened their fellow judges and attorneys at the Remsen Street headquarters of the Brooklyn Bar Association, which co-sponsored the Feb. 7 event alongside the Judicial Friends Association, an organization of judges dedicated to promoting diversity within the field.
Shillingford and Ash spoke to the more than 50 attendees about the differences between judges’ involvement in picking juries for civil and criminal cases, according to the president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, which organized the event.
“The idea behind it was to bring an idea of a judge’s perspective on the relevant law for the selection of jurors,” said David Chidekel.
Judges are generally much more involved in picking the dozen jurors for criminal trials than they are in picking the half dozen for civil trials, because they want to ensure that jurors are independent when they are deciding a defendant’s fate, Chidekel said.
“[In a criminal trial] a person’s liberty and freedom is at stake, and they don’t want lawyers inadvertently prejudicing jurors or committing errors that deny people a fair trial,” he said.
— Julianne McShane