Gayle Herde writes this practical article on how you can understand the role religious beliefs could play in juror deliberations. How to measure religiosity (by looking at attitudes, beliefs, commitment and faith), how to listen to responses in voir dire to “hear” religiosity without asking for direct expressions on the role of religion in a potential juror’s life, the relationship of political persuasion and religion, the role of non-belief, and how to structure your SJQ effectively.
Adam Shniderman gives us a very current, plain language review of the neuroscience arena. What does all the conflicting media coverage mean? What does the research really say? How can you best defend a client with neurological issues? This is a terrific summary of how to understand the “my brain made me do it” media coverage distortions, learn what the research actually says, and then plan accordingly
Alexis Forbes brings us all up to date on research, why it’s important to understand LGBTQ culture, and terminology. She includes a “say this” and “don’t say that” graphic to help you communicate without offending. You may think you are up to date. Here’s a simple question: Do you know what ‘cisgender’ is? Go read this.
Brittany Bates, Rob Cramer, and Robert Ray bring us this information on how to defend against allegations about your client by a jailhouse informant. From reviewing the literature to offering ideas for pre-trial research and SJQs, this is a practical article for when you are faced with damaging testimony from your client’s alleged jailhouse confidant.
We are very familiar with the power of the story model for case presentation but, according to Ron Bullis, we may not have paid as close attention to the power of the metaphor. Read this to learn how to listen for metaphors in deposition to hear (and know how to defuse) opposition arguments. This is a practical article that highlights the importance of the metaphor--how you can use the metaphor powerfully, and how you can defuse the power of opposing counsel’s metaphor.
Suzy Macpherson asks us to think about the impossibility of setting aside preconceived notions, life experiences, and values in order to be “fair and impartial”. This is a practical article that will leave you thinking about how to ask seemingly simple questions quite differently.
The Reptile Approach has been immensely popular among the Plaintiff Bar and many articles have discussed the benefits and drawbacks of this approach. Rather than going down that road again, we are publishing a look at how to attack the soft underbelly of that scaly reptile. How do you circumvent a snake? You start by reading this Defense approach to the Reptile Theory
The Truthiness of Visual Evidence by Eryn Newman, Ph.D. from the University of California at Irvine, and Neal Feigenson, J.D. from Quinnipiac University School of Law
Stephen Colbert has made "truthiness" a well-known concept. "You don't look up truthiness in a book. You look it up in your gut." So what happens when truthiness comes to your courtroom and then makes it into the deliberation room? Two researchers take a look at how truthiness interacts with visual evidence and a trial consultant (and visual evidence expert) responds.
Negative pretrial publicity is a nightmare. You have to address it but how to do that effectively is often a puzzle. This writer presents a multi-part strategy (e.g., pre-trial, during voir dire, and during the case presentation) to not only addressing, but neutralizing negative pretrial publicity.
Did your client make that decision fast or slow? As it happens, the observer may attribute immoral character to those that make a fast decision, or they may attribute a higher level of morality to those that seem to weigh the evidence and consider their choices before deciding. So what can you do to frame the decision made by your client in a way that will benefit and not harm them? Two researchers tell us about their work and two trial consultants respond with their thoughts on applications to litigation advocacy. The researchers also make a brief reply to the trial consultants comments.
Favorite Thing: The DELETE Key We often have a "new" favorite thing in our issues of The Jury Expert. Typically, it's something new (or new to many of us) and we are introducing you to something we've found that is just wonderful. This time though, it's a little different. This has been around forever. Truly. But we think that just because you've known about it forever doesn't mean it can't be your new Favorite Thing too!
There are basic things we all know about ourselves. You are tall or short. You have straight hair or wavy/curly hair or, perhaps no hair. Your eyes are brown, or blue, or hazel--more or less. And you are liberal or conservative. We know these things to be true. Except when we don't. New research shows us that we may be inaccurate in what our politics truly are--especially when we are young. You may not be as liberal or as conservative as you think. Two researchers share their findings and two trial consultants consider this in the context of their day-to-day work in litigation advocacy. The researchers then make a brief reply to the consultants.
Social media was fairly new not long ago and now it is a basic consideration of voir dire and jury selection (not to mention concerns over social media during the trial itself). This book (from two attorneys at DLA Piper) covers the basics of social media investigation, pitfalls, and offers multiple techniques for voir dire. Read this review and see if you'd like to add the book to your library.
Earlier in this issue, we have an article on the truthiness of visual evidence. But what about all the other extra-evidentiary influences that bring truthiness in the door to the courtroom and the deliberation room? In this article, a trial consultant reviews multiple ways truthiness, falsiness, and even nothingness can be unwanted visitors to your trial.
by Douglas L. Keene, PhD and Rita R. Handrich, PhD of Keene Trial Consulting
Why on earth would anyone, anywhere, ever confess to a serious crime they did not commit? Especially something like murder? Seriously? Our mock jurors find it hard to believe and, in truth, it ticks them off. Two trial consultants present the research on why people falsely confess and the cascade of errors presented by a false confession. Saul Kassin, Walter Katz, Karen Franklin and Larry Barksdale respond to this important paper.
Given the skepticism as to why anyone would confess to serious crimes when they were innocent--it is important to know how to identify biases prior to seating jurors. Here's a supplemental jury questionnaire (SJQ) covering all the issues you need to address in a false confessions case.
by Rita R. Handrich, PhD of Keene Trial Consulting
Here's a quick and thorough way to review the research on false confessions and learn a few things you didn't know before. Multiple areas are covered and you are sure to be surprised by some of the content!
by Steven E. Perkel, DSW, LCSW, of Archer Law and Paul J. Tobin, MSW and James Weisman, JD of the United Spinal Organization
This article is eye-opening. It recounts truthy biases about people with disabilities based on the pseudoscience of eugenics and how these biases were supported by laws and court rulings resulting in thousands of people undergoing involuntary sterilization. The article also describes how decisions continue to be made that put people with disabilities at risk.
by Jamie Luguri, Jaime Napier, PhD and John Dovidio, PhD all of Yale University
How does a conservative juror view a "non-normative" group member differently than a more liberal juror and what, if anything, can you do to change that view? New research out of Yale University tells us there may well be ways to modify pre-existing perspectives and James McGee and Charli Morris offer their thoughts as well.
by Jaime Bochantin, PhD of Tara Trask & Associates
A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says "Why the long face?". Okay. So we all find different things funny. This article looks at how humor helps and hinders the deliberative process (using examples from mock trial research) and gives pointers on how you can both assess and use juror humor style in voir dire decisions.
by Judith Platania, PhD of Roger Williams University and Jessica Crawford of the Milford, Massachusetts Police Department
How do the general bits and pieces of information about lawsuit damages jurors pick up from the media enter into the deliberation room? Jurors don't "set aside" that knowledge simply because they are told to do so--but you knew that. Take a look at how that pre-existing knowledge is related to verdict and damages.
by Caroline Titcombe and Stanley L. Brodsky from the University of Alabama You've likely read about thin slicing and how we make judgments that often turn out to be disturbingly accurate. Here's a look at thin-slicing applied to witness impressions. When we judge witnesses--are our impressions accurate? You might be surprised at the answer.
The iPad has changed how we work and surf the web. Here, in a very hands-on article, Morgan Smith tells you how to use the iPad to display trial exhibits. Do you really need to lug that laptop around anymore?
Ever have a witness you think the jury is going to hate? Maybe because you don't like them so much yourself? Enter Katherine James. How do you help the witness and help your own attitude toward them? Read and learn.
by Douglas L. Keene and Rita R. Handrich from Keene Trial Consulting
Hydraulic fracking (aka hydro-fracking) is a technique for removing natural gas from deep underground geological formations that would otherwise not be sufficiently productive to be economical. The debate over safety and health impacts is heated. What can we really know about how potential jurors react to the practice, especially in a downturned economy? Here's a look at national and regional attitudes courtesy of polls, surveys and some actual research articles. See how to sample public attitudes for any toxic tort case in preparation for pretrial research.
Finally! It's fall and the mercury is falling. This issue is full of articles you can use on witnesses, technology, and new areas like neuro-law and attitudes toward the controversial practice of hydro-fracking. Read us online or via our newly redesigned pdf. The Jury Expert. We go where you go.
Here is the latest edition of the Jury Expert which is published by the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC). Also, ASTC is having its annual conference next week in New Orleans. For those interested in more information about the conference go here.
by Karenna Malavanti, Megan Johnson, Wade Rowatt and Charles Weaver, all from Baylor University.
How well are we managing bias in the courtroom? Four Baylor researchers present research on how subtle religious cues result in more bias against African Americans. (It's actually worse than just African Americans but that's research pending publication so we just get a peek at that.) Karen Hurwitz and George Kich respond with their reactions to the research findings. This is a really disturbing piece of research about which you need to be informed.
by Doug Keene and Rita Handrich from Keene Trial Consulting
A look at how to craft trial narratives for both prosecution and defense presentation by reviewing the social sciences research that may be relevant to the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. What do we know in terms of the facts released? What does the research have to say? And how can you take that research and combine it with known facts to craft a plaintiff or defense narrative to test in pretrial research? A disturbing but intriguing article on a case in the headlines.
We are all inundated with social media information. But how do you organize all that information to use it for trial preparation? Amy Singer brings us that knowledge by offering education and information on how-to's for everyone. This is a step-by-step description of the process first used for the Casey Anthony trial.
Crazy, out-of-control witnesses? Who better than a 60-year-old, small-statured woman to handle them? That's how Katherine James describes herself in this article but as you read it, you will doubt anyone working with Katherine sees her as small and frail. This is brash and plain-spoken advice earned through much (perhaps a bit too much) experience over the years with this challenging group.
How do you best prepare expert witnesses? A close observer of expert witness courtroom performance offers his top tips and Stan Brodsky, Elaine Lewis and Ellen Finlay respond and tell us what they might do the same or differently.
by Ryan Malphurs and Hailey Drescher from Tara Trask & Associates
Ryan Malphurs and Hailey Drescher have been watching the Supreme Court again and this time they are showing us how the Supreme Justices use analogies (to lesser and greater effect) and how we can apply those lessons in analogy to non-Supreme Court presentations.
A book review of the latest (encyclopedic) reference on the intersection of the law and mind sciences. Edited by Jon Hanson with 800 pages full of research and application that will leave you breathless and, more importantly, curious.
The past two months have been an interesting time for us. We are pulling articles from the headlines for this issue and taking on provocative and disturbing topics. Go ahead and "click". You know you want to. We want you to as well.
Do you know what the nastiest, germiest thing in your hotel room is? Think again. And learn how to avoid taking bedbugs around the country with you! These two tips and much more more in this growing category.
by Beth Bochnak of NJP Litigation Counseling (formerly the National Jury Project)
In our last issue we focused on 'sensitive topics' and approaching them successfully. Here's another one: an SJQ (and the rationale for various questions) for defending those accused of sex crimes against children.
A review of Daniel Kahneman's (500 page!) tome Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow. What can we learn from this book to inform litigation advocacy. Steve says "a lot" but we have to give it time to percolate.
You probably saw the "Why does everyone hate jury duty?" 'surveys' floating around the web. A trial consultant takes a look at the original article questioning our system and ponders how cynicism plays a role in the responses.
Usually we keep this stuff from you. This issue though, a behind-the-scenes look at what members of the ASTC (American Society of Trial Consultants) are really like. Famous old saying: "Character will out."