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Commitment Effects, Part 2: Does Allowing Juror Discussion Prior to Deliberation Affect Their Decision Making?

In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed whether asking verdict-related questions early in a mock trial can cause a commitment effect in mock jurors, such that they are less likely to change their opinions as more evidence is presented. Now, we’ll extend this idea into “real world” trials, because some venues allow jurors to […]

Active Shooter Premises Liability: What Are Jurors’ Expectations of Safety?

Time and time again, the American public reels from the traumas of mass shootings. Virginia Tech, Aurora, Pulse Night Club, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs Church, and, just last month, Stoneman Douglas – all fatal shootings we’ve heard and read about, occurring in different places, at different times of day, and targeting different people. The frequency […]

Should I Allow Jurors to Ask Questions of Witnesses?

On more than one occasion, I’ve been in court when the judge asked counsel if they would like to allow jurors to submit any questions for witnesses following their testimony. In most cases, judges have indicated they would allow juror questions if both parties agreed, yet attorneys are rarely sure if it is a good […]

How Important Is Attorney Etiquette in the Courtroom?

“All the world’s a stage,” as they say; and apparently, that includes the courtroom. From my countless post-trial interviews with jurors, I’ve come to the conclusion that jurors are always watching you – not just to see if you’re a good lawyer, but to see if you’re a good person. Thus, it is important for […]

Are Jurors Biased Against Foreign Witnesses?

To say that America has a complicated relationship with “foreignness” would no doubt be an understatement.  After all, the vast majority of us have relatives or ancestors who immigrated to the United States at some point in time (I, myself, am a first-generation citizen).  Yet, there remains a great deal of political controversy and social tension between Americans and the foreign born (or […]

Bill Cosby and Jury Bias: Can Jurors Recognize Their Own Biases?

Now more than ever, information is at our fingertips.  While the benefits of this are many, one potential downside has become apparent in the legal system.  The law assures defendants the right to an “impartial” jury.  However, the sheer amount of information available through the rapidly expanding use of technology means that jurors are increasingly […]

New Media’s Impact, Part III: Tweaking Your Graphics for the Modern Juror

Parts I and II of this series explained how and why jurors’ communication styles – and, accordingly, their responses to trial graphics – are changing with the influx of new media.  Now we’ll tell you what you can do about it. By sticking to the fundamentals and making tweaks with the modern juror in mind, […]

Commitment Effects: Does Asking Verdict Questions Early Commit Mock Jurors to a Position?

When we design a mock trial – where jurors are read instructions and deliberate to a verdict form – we concentrate on presenting the case facts, witnesses, and evidence in a way that will impact jurors’ story of the case similarly to a “real life” trial.  As such, we typically wait until after jurors hear […]

New Media’s Impact, Part II: Trial Graphic Foundations

Laying the Foundations of Your Trial Graphics In Part I, we told you how jurors are changing and the challenges these changes present. So let’s begin Part II with some examples of new media developments that help explain why jurors expect more from your visual presentations. Then, before we get ahead of ourselves, we’ll do […]

New Media’s Impact on Jurors (and How Your Trial Graphics Should Respond)

Your trial graphics do not live in a vacuum.  Their success is based solely on their effectiveness with the audience – your jurors.  Of course, no two jurors are exactly alike; their needs and wants are a moving target.  So how can our graphics possibly meet the communication expectations of every juror?  One valuable way […]

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