Sunday, October 2, 2016

Through The Jurors' Eyes: Persuasion 101

Regardless of how many times jurors are admonished not to do their own investigating, they do it all the time. When discovered, most often the case ends up in a mistrial, lengthy appeals or retrials. But these juror actions also tell us that lawyers are not doing their job. It’s time to stop dinging the jurors for attempting to ferret out the truth on their own, complaining that jurors are too uneducated or uninterested to understand a case as presented, and instead, give jurors the clarification they seek.

It doesn’t take much, especially when you bear in mind that visuals are the most convincing, quickest way to get your point across. For example, In People vs. Victoria Samantha Cook, CA Dist. 4 Ct. App., Div. 2, (Mar. 19, 2013), a juror bought toy cars during a deliberation lunch break, which the juror then used to reenact the accident central to the case. How complicated would it have been for the lawyers to demonstrate their interpretation of the accident with the simple expedient of toy cars? Or some other equally inexpensive and yet persuasive visual.

Do your best to see the case through the jurors’ eyes, understanding that jurors want to see for themselves whatever it is you claim is your best evidence. A little effort in that direction will take you a long way toward a winning case.

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