Wendy Heath and Bruce Grannemann ponder how video image size in the courtroom is related to juror decision-making about your case. They discuss how image size interacts with image strength, defendant emotions, and the defendant/victim relationship. Trial consultants Jason Barnes and Brian Patterson team up for one response to this article and Ian McWilliams pens another. This is a terrific article to help you reconsider the role of image size in that upcoming trial.
Sarah Malik and Jessica Salerno have some original research on bias against gays in the courtroom. This is simple and powerful research that illustrates just how moral outrage drives our judgments against LGBT individuals (especially when they are juveniles). Stan Brodsky and Christopher Coffey team up for one response and Alexis Forbes pens a second. While these findings make intuitive sense, they may also highlight something you've not previously considered.
Lynne Williams is a trial consultant who lives in the cold and snowy state of Maine. She is also skilled in picking juries for political trials and a gifted writer as she describes the important differences between picking juries for civil disobedience cases and antiwar protestor cases. This article not only explains what Ms. Williams does, but why and how she does what she does. It's like lifting up the top of her head and peering inside her brain.
Mary Wood, Jacklyn Nagle and Pamela Bucy Pierson bring us this qualitative examination of self-care in lawyers. They talk about workplace stress and depression and substance abuse. Been there? Are there? Some kinds of self-care may work better than others but--what's important is that you actually do some self-care! Andy Sheldon and Alison Bennett share their reactions to this article.
Adam Shniderman knows neuroscience evidence can be incredibly alluring. This new study shows us that unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) it is not universally alluring. Here's a shocker: the impact of the neuroscience evidence is related to the individual listener's prior attitudes, values and beliefs about the topic. Robert Galatzer-Levy and Ekaterina Pivovarova respond with their thoughts on the issues raised.
Law and Neuroscience by Owen Jones, Jeffrey Schall, and Francis Shen has just published and is as long as any Harry Potter tale at more than 800 pages. Rita Handrich takes a look at this new textbook and reference manual which covers more than you ever knew existed on the wide-ranging field of neurolaw (which is a whole lot more than the "my brain made me do it" defense).
Roy Bullis is back to talk to us about the wide language gulf between attorneys and their social science expert witnesses. Just because you are talking, doesn't mean you are actually communicating. How do you talk so your expert knows what you mean?
It's cold outside so stay inside and read this new issue of The Jury Expert! A summary of what you will find in this issue with a special thanks to Lynne Williams and congratulations to Richard Gabriel!
We hope you enjoy this issue of The Jury Expert. We are always interested in any suggestions you may have for future issues or reactions to our publication in general. Just click on my name below and send me an email.
Authored by Doug Keene and Rita Handrich with a response from Paul Begala, this article takes a look at how the country has changed over the past 2 decades and how our old definitions of Democrat or Republican and conservative or liberal are simply no longer useful. What does that mean for voir dire? What should it mean for voir dire? Two very good questions those.
Authored by Ivar Hannikainen, Ryan Miller and Fiery Cushman with responses from Ken Broda-Bahm and Alison Bennett, this article has a lesson for us all. It isn’t what that terrible, awful defendant did that makes me want to punish, it’s how I think I would feel if I did that sort of terrible, horrible awful thing. That’s what makes me want to punish you. It’s an interesting perspective when we consider what makes jurors determine lesser or greater punishment.
Authored by Jillian M. Ware, Jessica L. Jones, and Nick Schweitzer with responses from Ekaterina Pivovarova and Stanley L. Brodsky, Adam Shniderman, and Ron Bullis. Remember how fearful everyone was about the CSI Effect when the research on the ‘pretty pictures’ of neuroimagery came out? In the past few years, several pieces of research have sought to replicate and extend the early findings. These studies, however, failed to find support for the idea that neuroimages unduly influence jurors. This overview catches us up on the literature with provocative ideas as to where neurolaw is now.
Authored by Matthew Groebe, Garold Stasser, and Kevin-Khristián Cosgriff-Hernandez, this paper gives insight into how jurors may be leaning in support of one side or the other at various points during the trial. This is a project completed using data from actual mock trials (and not the ubiquitous undergraduate).
We often have a Favorite Thing in The Jury Expert. A Favorite Thing is something low-cost or free that is just fabulous. This issue, Brian Patterson shares the idea of mind mapping and several ways (both low-tech and high-tech) to make it happen.
Authored by Mykol C. Hamilton, Emily Lindon, Madeline Pitt, and Emily K. Robbins, with responses from Charli Morris and Diane Wiley, this article looks at how to not “prehabilitate” your jurors and offers ideas about alternate ways of asking the question rather than the tired, old “can you be fair and unbiased?”.
Authored by Shelby Forsythe and Monica K. Miller, with a response from Richard Gabriel. This article examines the reactions of research participants to a number of novel defenses (Amnesia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Battered Women Syndrome (BWS), Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), Post-Partum Depression (PPD), and Gay Panic Defense) and makes recommendations on how (as well as whether or not) to use these defenses.
Authored by David M. Caditz with responses from Roy Futterman and Edward Schwartz. Suppose there was a more predictable, accurate and efficient way of exercising your peremptory strikes? Like using a computer model based on game theory? In this article, a physicist presents his thoughts on making those final decisions more logical and rational and based on the moves opposing counsel is likely to make.
This issue we are all about voir dire (from multiple directions) and presenting your case in court. Political labels, novel defenses, behavioral mimicry, moral reactivity, game theory, neuro-imagery, 'prehabilitation' and more!
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.