Ethics Opinions

RENDERED November 20, 1962
AMENDED April 06, 2013

JURY - It is unprofessional and highly improper for a lawyer to curry favor with juries by fawning, flattery or pretended solicitude for their personal comfort.

This committee has been advised that there are lawyers who express to jurors solicitude for the personal comfort of the jurors and make flattering remarks to them such as "I appreciate your patience, attentiveness, etc.," or "you have been an excellent jury, etc."

Although the committee is aware of the fact that such statements and conduct is not uncommon in the courts of this State, notwithstanding, it is the opinion of the committee that said statements or similar ones and such conduct are highly improper and unprofessional.

Rule 3.5, MRPC, provides that a lawyer shall not seek to influence a judge, juror, prospective juror or other official by means prohibited by law or to communicate ex parte with such a person during the proceeding unless authorized to do so by law or court order.

It is the Committee's opinion that lawyers should make suggestions for the comfort or convenience of jurors to the court out of the jury's hearing and should avoid making any private contact with jurors before or during the trial about the case or about any other matter.