Archive | Jury Deliberations

O.J. Simpson’s Contribution to Trial Consulting

The topic of O.J. Simpson came up recently in a discussion I recently had about the world of trial consulting. The murder of O.J.’s former wife, and the subsequent trial, was one of the first televised celebrity mega trials. For better, or worse, almost everyone was aware of the accusations against O.J. in that case. […]

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O. J. Simpson has been vilified since the time he was accused of murder. David’s and my post is not intended as praise for O. J.; rather, it is written as an example of how one event, even a tragic one, can change other things which, at first glance, appear unrelated. I have no positive […]

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CYA: Another Reason for a Mock Trial

CYA, 3 little letters about something important – self protection. Cover your ass – there, I’ve said it. I don’t know when I first realized that attorneys sometimes use a mock trial to protect themselves from their client. There are many reasons for a mock trial but it was perhaps the attorney who once told […]

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I am a detail oriented, meticulous person who does not like to leave anything to chance. I strongly prefer to have more, not less, data with which to make a decision. I always practice my bass lines as much as time will allow before performing a gig (and I bring an extra battery in case […]

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Help the Jury Succeed

I subscribe to an email publication called the Jur-E Bulletin; it is published by the National Center for State Courts. It is a very informative publication and I recommend subscribing to it as you never know what tidbits will be there to be learned. Like a few other posts in our blog, this one was […]

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I have been working in the realm of psychology and law for decades and it has always seemed odd to me that many attorneys view jurors as their adversaries. I have heard countless remarks made by attorneys that denigrate the intelligence, motivation, and decisions made by juries. In addition, I have selected juries on hundreds […]

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Made for TV Mock Trials

A friend/client sent me an article recently about a mock trial conducted in a high profile murder case in Texas which was featured on the television show 48 Hours. The article, by one of Magnus’ competitors, thoroughly discussed many of the reasons why the mock trial and real trial results were different. As it turned […]

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There are so many things wrong with the way in which these Texas attorneys performed their mock trial that it would take more than this post to comment on them. It is a travesty of justice for clients of attorneys who think they know more than anyone else about almost everything, including jury behavior. I […]

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Followers

I have heard some parents extol their children’s leadership abilities while, simultaneously, praising their children for not being a follower, “like everyone else.” This dual conception of leadership, while it may appear on the surface to be accurate, is not supported by decades of social psychological research. Most widely accepted social psychological definitions of leadership […]

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“Lead, follow, or get out of my way.” This quote from General George S. Patton, Jr. is quoted with some variation in many discussions about leaders and followers. It came to my mind reading Melissa’s post. Her post made me realize that considering what leads to following is perhaps more interesting in some ways than […]

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The “Trial Show”

Two recent cases on which we conducted mock trials prompted this post. In the first, the lawyers presenting the case did so using 8×10 photographs of the incident scene which they held up in front of the group of mock jurors. No enlargement, no projection, just a photo. Post research, I attempted to “encourage” the […]

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Most people learn new information via more than one method, including auditory, visual, and kinetic means. Reliance on only one method of learning may or may not be sufficient, but considerable research has shown learning that involves multiple methods is more likely to result in greater memory for what was learned than learning that takes […]

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Leaders

Leaders and leadership have been studied by social psychologists for decades. The most widely accepted definition of leader is a person who influences group activities. A leader is someone who uses social power to move others in a desired direction by getting other people to follow his/her suggestions or orders. Most people, at one time […]

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Organizational leadership is also a well studied field, but given our day to day work, I want to comment on the foreperson as leader fallacy that Melissa mentioned. As Melissa pointed out, forepersons are often nominated based on some form of experience. I was nominated as foreperson when I served on a jury because, after […]

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Bargaining and negotiation

Bargaining is a social psychological phenomenon that I observe in every mock jury research project I conduct. Rarely do the mock jurors reach unanimity without considerable back and forth discussions. According to social psychological theory, bargaining involves situations with the following characteristics: (1) the parties involved have divergent interests; (2) some form of communication by […]

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Bargaining and negotiation involve give and take. And, some people will do all the taking, and little of the giving. We all observe this in many human interactions. In a jury scenario, this reality takes on a specific life of its own. We see it all the time in mock juries as the mock jurors […]

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Commitment

Social psychologists often refer to the “3 Cs of Attitude Change”: conformity, consistency, and commitment. Previous posts have discussed the first two factors, conformity and consistency, and the current post will address the third factor, commitment. Commitment is the process by which people take a stand for or against a certain issue. Commitment to an […]

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Knowledge of the power of commitment is a powerful tool for attorneys. On the one hand, when someone makes a clear commitment to something which obviously is opposed to a lawyer’s position, such as Melissa’s environmental example, the choice is easy. Sometimes, however, a commitment to some belief or cause is more subtly “announced.” Being […]

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Conformity

Almost everyone knows the meaning of conformity. From an early age, we are taught to conform with others’ ways of doing things, to go along with group norms, and to desire to be like everyone else. Few of us actually think about the strong social pressures designed to ensure our conformity; we tend to “go […]

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Melissa states that understanding conformity is part of understanding that a group is stronger than its individual parts. That is, in our litigation consulting world, a jury is stronger than a single juror, even if a single juror can “hang” a jury. My comments conform to her statement, but I want to expand it beyond […]

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