Statute Changes By Miles Cooper

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January 1 usually means new statutes take effect, and this year is no exception. There are two we feel are important to highlight this year for the practitioner and the consumer. (For those of you who aren’t practitioners, “consumer” means you.)

Changes in jury selection

How many times have you been in a courtroom where a judge has told you, “You have 15 minutes to question all 18 potential jurors, there will be no jury questionnaire and you cannot have the random order list”?

Members of the plaintiffs’ bar, defense bar and judges recognized this as a growing issue. As a result of alternative dispute resolution and the Discovery Act, more cases settle. Some of the newer judges on the civil bench have not had the opportunity to try a large number of civil cases as lawyers nor do they understand the impact artificial time limits and the inability to get complete juror information creates.

As a result, the California Legislature amended California Code of Civil Procedure § 222.5. The statute itself, which can be viewed here (http://1.usa.gov/zn8DrU), is worth a read. Some of the key points are...

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