The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
I thought Practical Paralegalism’s readers would enjoy this honest exchange between a prosecutor, Charles Coulson, and his former paralegal student, Cynthia Barth, during voir dire. Barth, a paralegal, was seated as a juror for this Ohio murder trial, which resulted in a conviction and a death sentence:
Coulson: Mrs. Barth, I see you are a paralegal. Did I help you get there?
. . .
Coulson: Do you think your experience as a paralegal would in any way interfere with your ability to listen to the law as the Judge gives it to you and apply it in this case?
Barth: No, I think it would help actually.
Coulson: You think you might be able to understand these instructions even better?
Coulson: Well if I did any good, I hope so. I had you for research and writing?
Coulson: I think you mentioned that.
Barth: Actually I think that your paralegal was there more than you were. I didn’t mean to embarrass you.
The Court concluded the record did not establish bias due to Barth’s student-teacher relationship with Coulson – noting that she said his paralegal was there more than he was. Treesh v. Bagley, 07-3524 (6th Cir. 2010)