From Dharun Ravi to John Goodman: The Man Behind the Juries

PHOTO: For nearly 20 years, Josh Dubin has served as a leading jury and legal consultant on major criminal and civil cases, including the recent Dharun Ravi and John Goodman trials.
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Citizens summoned for jury duty in high profile cases may not know Josh Dubin, but he likely knows a great deal about them.

For nearly 15 years, Dubin has served as a leading jury and legal consultant on major criminal and civil cases. He has written thousands of voir dire questions, watched hundreds of jury members file into courtrooms around the country, and is often sought by top-tier defense attorneys and plaintiffs' attorneys for his advice on jury selection, trial strategy and presenting facts in the midst of media storms.

In two seemingly disconnected cases earlier this year, juries convicted 19-year-old Dharun Ravi of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's gay tryst on the Rutgers University campus and millionaire polo tycoon John Goodman of DUI murder charges in Palm Beach, Fla. Although the trials were more than a thousand miles apart, defense lawyers on both cases sought Dubin's expertise.

As a creative writing major in college, Dubin did not envision his unique place in the court system until he interned for Amy Singer, a professor at Nova Southeast University in Florida who taught a course entitled "Psychology of Jury Selection."

"I learned so much about social psychology, and how to write questions and read the jury's responses from her," said Dubin.

Dubin joined Singer's firm, Trial Consultants, Inc. then based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after he graduated, and eventually launched his own firm, Dubin Research & Consulting in New York in 2002.

"It satiated my thirst for finding creative solutions to problems," said Dubin. "Going from case to case to case, I get to spend more time in courtrooms than some lawyers with twice as many years of experience."

Dubin worked on a wide variety of criminal cases including the racially-charged cases of Charles Schwarz, a police officer accused of assaulting Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, and the money laundering case of the Murder Inc. Record founders, Irv and Chris Lorenzo "Gotti." (Schwarz was convicted of obstructing justice and civil rights violations, but the conviction was overturned by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He was later convicted of perjury in connection with the Abner Louima case. For more on the Lorenzo case, see the next page.)

His experience in civil courts includes working with Grant & Eisenhofer on their $3.2 billion plaintiff case against Tyco.

With so many of his cases making headlines, Dubin continues to have concerns about the judicial system's ability to shield jurors from the influence of the media. With many media pundits passing judgment even before trials begin, Dubin is concerned that it has become harder to find unbiased jurors.

"In [such] cases, it becomes more difficult to find jury members unbiased by media reporting," said Dubin. Indeed, some jury members admitted to seeing snippets of news coverage of the Dharun Ravi trial in the waiting room of the courtroom.

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