Some observations on white collar criminal trials

OK, it was just one trial, and it was a mock event at that, but a Forbes columnist who witnessed the empaneled jury in action as it deliberated concludes that it might be instructive in the post-election environment now upon us and about to formally launch.

Specifically, writer Walter Pavio and a few other more closely placed commentators who offer their opinions in a recent Forbes article think that some juries in white collar criminal trials might start acting a bit differently in the Trump presidential era.

After all, notes Pavio, Trump’s campaign prominently featured a “new pushback on the government.” Increasingly more people (which, of course, includes jurors) “want their voices heard, and this election demonstrated that in a number of ways,” states the writer.

The ABA-sponsored mock trial referenced above recently occurred in Houston and involved a case under the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, featuring an American businessman bribing foreign nationals abroad to promote his business.

Unlike jury conclusions that often result in such a case, the mock trial — which Pavio stresses seemed most real, with the jurors being eminently serious — yielded a total acquittal.

And it was also instructive in this sense: The jury pool, which was noted to be “demographically and educationally diverse,” seemed collectively to be quite concerned about government overreaching and somewhat empathetic to the defendant. One commentator stated that many middle-class Americans “have somehow been touched by the criminal justice system [and] know the harsh consequences of criminal punishment.” That feeling might have pervaded the jury and influenced its verdict more so than the fact that the defendant was wealthy and had possibly broken the law.

Again, it’s just one trial, and not even “real” at that.” Although the commentators say that it could serve to provide support for the idea that more white collar defendants should go to trial rather than plea bargain, the optimal route to take in any given case must of course be arrived at through a client’s close consultation with a proven attorney.

An experienced white collar defense lawyer can thoroughly evaluate a case and help a client make an informed decision regarding strategy.