I Wanted to “Murder” the Prosecutor in This Murder Trial. Here’s the Story…

court trial

As jury selection entered its second hour, with no end in sight, the prosecutor strolled slowly to his table, grabbed his notes, paged through them, paused, paged through them some more, took a deep breath, and then asked, “Have any of you ever had a negative encounter with a prosecutor that would prevent you from judging this case in a fair and impartial manner?”

(He had asked the same question – worded slightly differently – two minutes earlier.) 

The little, old lady perched two seats to my right, stared at the tops of her sensible shoes. 

The burly dude in front of me, with the bald eagle tattoo on his neck, slumped in his chair and sighed – loudly.

I raised my paddle. 

The prosecutor put down his notes, grabbed the list of prospective jurors, and paged through it (slowly) until he found the name that matched myt paddle number.

“Mr. Ruwitch,” he said. 

I cleared my throat. “Have I ever had a negative encounter with a prosecutor…?” I repeated. 

“…YES! Right now!!! With YOU. You’re driving us all crazy! You keep asking questions the judge already asked. You keep repeating the same questions. I can’t stand this any longer. Please stop!” 


…I didn’t say that. 

I imagined saying it…

…as I sat there, miserable and silent, staring at that bald eagle tattoo.  

Hearing nothing, the prosecutor reviewed his notes and continued, “So…none of you have had a negative experience with a prosecutor?” he repeated. 

(Note: He said “experience,” instead of “encounter.)

The room was NOT silent now.

There’s a certain kind of rumble when 52 prospective jurors all squirm in their seats at the same time. 

The prosecutor had lost the room. Be he didn’t notice (or he didn’t care). 

He continued. He randomly called individuals and repeated the question.

“Mr. O’Leary, you’ve never had a negative experience with a prosecutor?” 

“Ms. Floyd,  what about you? Have you ever had a negative experience…?” 

When he called on the third individual, the judge shook his head and summoned the prosecutor and defense attorneys to his bench. 

These “sidebar” conversations are supposed to be silent. But the judge was agitated and he was barking more than whispering.

I didn’t catch it all, but I heard the judge say this: 

“You’re wasting everybody’s time!”

“You can say that again!” I thought. And he did. The judge repeated it, more slowly this time so the prosecutor might get it. 

“You — are — wasting — everybody’s — time!”

One of the defense attorney’s smiled. It even looked like he stifled a laugh. He knew the score.

The prosecutor slunk back to his chair, paged through his notes (slowly), and began a new line of questioning. 

And on and on and on it went. 

Across the courtroom sat two defendants, charged with first-degree murder. 

This was no laughing matter. 

I take jury duty seriously. I believe defendants deserve a fair trial. And if we’re summoned, we have a civic duty to show up, serve if selected, and judge the case fairly and impartially. 

But as I sat there yesterday, all I could think was, “I really dislike this prosecutor!” 

And I wondered whether that would affect my judgment if I served on the jury. I wondered whether the other prospective jurors felt the same. 

My rational side says feelings about the prosecutor shouldn’t color jurors’ judgment.

But I also know: Our emotional side has a say. 

If the storyteller triggers negative emotions, if you dislike the storyteller, you’re less likely to believe the story. 

So it goes in a courtroom. 

So it goes in marketing. 

After four hours of questioning, the prosecutor and defense attorneys selected a jury. I didn’t make the cut. 

So here I sit this morning, back to work as a marketer, reminding you how critical it is get your audience behind you. 

If you drive prospects crazy, if you waste their time, if you make them squirm in their chairs and sigh in frustration, they’ll tune out and move on.

They won’t buy your story. They won’t buy your products and services. 

If, on the other hand, you connect with your audience, if they like you, they will tune in and turn on.

They will buy your story. They will buy your products and services. 

That’s why it’s so important to quit dishing out the same old boring content.

Deliver, instead, informative and entertaining content that leads prospects to know, like, and trust you – content that inspires them to stick with you and buy. 

I’ll show you how.

If you want to hear about the options, I’ll happily open a spot on my calendar to chat. Just reply to this email and tell me you’d like to meet. I’ll circle back with information on how to book some time with me.

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Get the Story Power Profit Pack -- 52 Strategies, Tips, and Tactics  to Transform Your Content from Ignored to Adored.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Twice-monthly live masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.