The Right to a Fair Trial

The Fifth District Court of Appeal of Florida recently issued an opinion addressing a Plaintiff’s right to a fair trial. Often times in the course of a trial the defendant will take certain liberties in an attempt to prejudice the jury. The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Irizarry v. Moore So.2d, 37 FLW D313 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012) addressed an instance where the defense attorney’s egregious behavior lead the court’s decision to grant a new trial.

In the Irizarry case the defense attorney in a negligence suit used the terms “guilty” and “innocent” to describe the plaintiff’s burden of proof and later made comments suggesting to potential jurors that the plaintiff was seeking to make a fraudulent claim. The court went on to note that defense attorney continued to step over the behavioral bounds so frequently during a three-day trial that the totality of his conduct “surpassed the critical mass” that compelled a new trial (See FJA Journal March/April 2012).

Each personal injury attorney in a trial has an obligation to zealously represent their clients. However, the rules of procedure and evidentiary code are designed to ensure that each party receives a fair trial. When problematic transgressions take place during a trial it can have a significant impact, which can include a new trial being ordered.