Nov 2017

Hail to the Jury

A few days ago President Obama was called for jury duty. The panel of prospective jurors he was part of was dismissed before even entering a courtroom. The reason had nothing to do with him being a former President, but was likely due to a settlement or plea bargain on the morning of trial obviating the need for picking a jury. Mr. Obama, along with many other potential jurors, left

For a jury to render a verdict in all federal felony cases and in 48 of the 50 states, the jury of 12 needs to be unanimous. If there is one lone holdout the jury is considered hung and no verdict is reached. The two states not requiring unanimity are Oregon and Louisiana where 10 of 12 is enough to acquit or convict (though Oregon still requires a unanimous vote

Famed actor and comedic celebrity Bill Cosby will be retried on three charges later this year. Last month Judge O’Neill declared a mistrial after jurors said they were unable to come to a unanimous verdict on any of the charges. Cosby, 79, did not testify in his own defense during the trial. One juror said that a retrial would be a “waste of money” because “there is no new evidence.”

1. Each side wants jurors who will form a psychological connection to either Mr. Cosby or Ms. Constand. While demographics alone will not directly predict whether someone starts off favoring one side or the other, the personal characteristics of the key players are noteworthy. It will be interesting to see how each side tries to find and assess jurors who they feel have some overlap with either Cosby or Constand.

Trial Methods set out to take the pulse of the public by questioning jury-eligible people across the country about their attitudes pertaining to litigation in 2017. Respondents were from geographically, politically and demographically diverse regions and asked a series of questions online. The results of the survey follow: LAWSUITS VS. CORPORATIONS Percent Agree Plaintiffs often exaggerate their claims in order to increase damage awards 74% Making corporations pay big jury

There is no way to know for sure what percentage of reasons that prospective jurors give for being “unable” to serve on a jury are legitimate. Jury duty is typically viewed as an inconvenience, with individuals being asked to give up their days for anywhere from a day to numerous months. Oftentimes potential jurors are more unwilling to serve than they are unable. Excuses range from the entirely permissible to

Litigants are typically interested in learning about a prospective juror’s political orientation during the jury selection process. This line of thinking is that if one’s general political leaning is deduced then other specific litigation-related attitudes become apparent that reveal insights into how a juror will render a verdict. For example, aren’t Republicans typically tougher on criminals and therefore good for the prosecution? In the civil arena, won’t Democrats be more

Now that the new”Bull” series has several weeks under its belt many people have asked me how much the show resembles what actual trial consultants do. It reminded me of a wonderful piece a highly admired trial consultant wrote a few months ago. I am speaking of Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, who agreed to be my “guest” blogger on the topic and so I am using the prior piece he did

Do you ever wonder how two people can have completely different reactions to the same statement made by a political candidate? In Social Psychology there is a phenomenon called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs. This bias suggests that minimal psychological energy is used to seek out and process alternative possibilities. Put simply, people interpret information in

Defense attorneys representing Russell Brown III, who is charged with killing a Virginia State Police Trooper 3 years ago, tried to push his trial to a later date arguing the charged atmosphere surrounding the killings of 5 Dallas Police Officers was too hostile for their client to get a fair trial. The Judge did not accept this rationale for moving the trial date – he felt the Dallas police shootings