Jury Behavior Posts

  • Mock Trials and Focus Groups: Letting Go of Control and Taking it Back at the Same Time

    One of the biggest frustrations trial teams and client representatives feel in a mock trial or focus group is the lack of control as they sit and observe the juries deliberate and discuss their case.  Jurors get confused, misunderstand and …

  • How Federal Patent Tutorial Video Influences Jurors

    Originally published in Law360, August 4, 2020 The COVID-19 global pandemic has led to an unprecedented backlog of cases, and, as a result, courts are considering ways to alleviate the pressure on the system. Last month, the judge in the …

  • Sharing Covid-19 Efforts Unlikely to Change Verdicts

    Originally published in Law360, June 12, 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has elicited a variety of responses by businesses trying to build or maintain good relationships with consumers. Anyone watching television has been bombarded with commercials from companies expressing that they …

  • Who Might Not Be on Your Jury in the “New Normal” Trial?

    As our country has started to reopen, we have heard a lot about the “new normal”. It appears inevitable that social distancing and mask wearing will be a part of our public events for a long time. Courts across the …

  • The American Jury Trial: The Way Forward

    The courts closing all around the country was jarring to many of us in litigation and litigation support. Since our jury consulting firm opened in 1978, it had never happened. As of this writing, courts around the country are weighing …

  • Preparing for Trial after Covid-19

    As most of the country quarantines to assist with the fight against Covid-19, or Coronavirus, it is realistic to expect some change in people’s attitudes and outlook on life once they are freed from staying at home. Research suggests, “The …

  • One Person’s Inference is Another Person’s Conjecture

    Steven Wright observed that “there is a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot.” And as David St. Hubbins (lead singer of Spinal Tap, the band chronicled in Rob Reiner’s Rockumentary This is Spinal Tap) …

  • Judge/Jury Agreement Remains High

    In June, the National Judicial College published results to the question posed to retired trial judges, “About how often do you disagree with the jury’s verdict?” Results showed that 82% of the 446 judges who responded indicated they disagreed with …

  • Jury Selection in the #MeToo Era

    “Franken’s fall was stunningly swift … reflect[ing] the cultural moment: In an era when women’s accusations of sexual discrimination and harassment are finally being taken seriously, after years of belittlement and dismissal, some see it as offensive to subject accusers …

  • WHAT YOUR JURY REALLY KNOWS ABOUT SCIENCE

    The degree to which a juror understands science can have a significant impact on the way they perceive the narrative, themes, arguments, and supporting evidence presented at trial. Audience analysis is the first step to persuasion, so what do we …

  • Have a Heart: How to Read Carefully into Sensitive Topics

    A recent episode of This American Life, entitled “The Unhappy Deciders,” described a man named Sven’s experience serving on a jury charged with deciding whether a defendant deserved life without parole or the death penalty. There was no doubt about the defendant’s …

  • Putting the Spotlight on Bias Blind Spots

    In an ideal world, every decision we make would involve a careful and logical evaluation of every fact, data, or piece of evidence associated with the subject of the decision. In this world, we would not rush to judgement based …

  • Confidence in the Courtroom

    It’s not about what you say, but how you say it. Confidence is king. Fake it ‘til you make it. Across all arenas, confidence leads to more opportunities and credibility amongst peers. The courtroom is no exception, and confidence impacts …

  • The Drama of Persuasion: Story-Telling and Narrative Framing

    One of the most interesting components of facilitating a mock trial is seeing how jurors actually reason during deliberations. Most jurors have no training in formal logic or argumentation or in the fields in which the trial evidence is being …

  • “So, who wants to be the foreperson?”: Opinion leaders in jury deliberations

    If the cast of Saved by the Bell had jury duty, Zach Morris (The Adult Years) would be a likely candidate for jury foreperson. Personable, popular, and persuasive, the other jurors would look to him for his opinions and interpretation …

  • A Trial Consultant’s Experience with Jury Duty

    Even though I spend a significant amount of time in a courtroom for my job as a trial consultant, it is rare that I have the opportunity to be on the other side of the equation and serve as a …

  • “Alexa” Hears Everything and Jurors See Everything

    Recently there was quite a stir over the possibility that Alexa, Amazon’s highly successful and useful home device, could be listening to everything everyone says (it’s too late, she has already heard what you have said), and that it could …

  • Helping Jurors Avoid "Alternative Facts"

    Kellyanne Conway has introduced the concept of “alternative facts” into the political discourse with her defense of President Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s assertions about crowd size at the presidential inauguration. Of course, this isn’t the first time this concept …

  • Alternative Facts Don’t Fly in the Jury Room

    Alternative facts seem to be getting in the way a lot these days. Sean Spicer’s representation that President Trump’s January 20 inauguration audience “…was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” …

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Slow Down: Slow-Motion Bias in Civil Trials

    In 2009, John Lewis stood trial for shooting and killing a police officer in Philadelphia during an armed robbery of a doughnut store. In an unexpected turn of events, Lewis plead guilty to murder on the fourth day of jury …

  • No, You Cannot Change Their Minds

    With the recent evolution of social media, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family with whom we might have stopped interacting in the past. There are, of course, some pluses and minuses to this. …

  • Four out of Five Dentists Prefer Brand X, But There is Only a 20% Chance of That: Juror Decision-Making and Statistical Idioms

    Statistics are everywhere—used, over-used, misunderstood, misused. Data, in the form of descriptive or inferential statistics, can be useful in developing understanding of conditions and events, and potentially informing or predicting outcomes. But there is considerable mistrust of statistics, as well …

  • Justice Seekers or Rogue Jurors? - Shining the Spotlight on Jury Nullification

    Jury nullification, or the power of the jury to disregard a law if they either do not agree with a law or feel it has been applied unjustly, has gained media exposure recently across the nation. The New Hampshire House …

  • Jurors Are Always Watching… And Making Judgments

    Recently, Hulk Hogan was awarded $140 million against Gawker for posting a private video of him on their website without his permission. This trial received extensive media coverage and the jurors have offered interviews giving insight into their decision-making, which, …

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