Attorneys Judge Jurors

February 3, 2005 -- Posted 6:40 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- You'll probably be called to do it at some point in your life. Most say it's a hassle. Some try everything they can to get out of it, and for attorneys it's tougher than it seems. We're talking about the art of jury selection.

As jury selection begins in the Michael Jackson molestation trial, most attorneys will tell you it's almost impossible to read a potential juror's mind during the selection process. For Jonesboro defense attorney Mark Rees age is a big factor.

"I'm always looking for a young juror," said Rees. "They have a tendency not to heed to authority as much."

Rees says he's also more inclined to choose a blue collar worker versus a professional.

"If you don't have that professional on your side, they could probably sway 9 or 10 other people on the jury," added Rees.

On the other side of the aisle, deputy prosecutor Mike Walden says age is a big factor for him as well.

"The more experience you bring to a lot of life's decisions and a lot of life's situations is a valuable asset," said Walden.

While Walden hardly considers a person's gender, he is observing their intellect.

"If you got someone who thinks they are smarter than anyone else it's going to be hard to get that person to agree with everybody else," added Walden.

Here in Jonesboro attorneys say when dealing with a high profile case, where the defendant has some extra cash to spend, they usually call upon a jury consultant, otherwise they rely on their instincts.

"I think juries perceive you and your client the minute you walk in that court room," said Rees.

"I don't think that jurors always have a warm reception when they see a defense entourage; a couple of attorneys, 3 or 4 paralegals, and a jury consultant," said Walden.

So while jury selection is tough on attorneys, serving on a jury is no picnic either. Jurors chosen for the Michael Jackson trial may be giving up a half a year of their lives, but the payoff could be lucrative with possible book deals and interviews.