Trust Your Mock Trial (to a Point)

July 17th, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: A mock trial is not a crystal ball with access to the ultimate result you’re going to see in a real trial. There are too many differences between the research situation and the full trial setting for those results to be considered reliable, including the individual make-up of the panel, the … Trust Your Mock Trial (to a Point) Read More »

Witnesses, You’re Preparing for Improv, Not a Play

July 13th, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: To be clear, testifying isn’t acting. Testifying is telling the truth. And with apologies to those who will point out that good acting is telling the truth as well, there are some important differences for the testifying witness, not least of which is that any appearance of artifice reduces credibility. Even … Witnesses, You’re Preparing for Improv, Not a Play Read More »

Voir Dire for “Safetyist” Attitudes 

July 10th, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Everyone supports safety. The popular “Reptile” approach to trying plaintiffs’ cases is built on the strength of safety as a core value. It is a common sense attitude to prefers greater security over greater risk. But there is also an extreme version of that attitude – a version that tolerates zero … Voir Dire for “Safetyist” Attitudes  Read More »

Experts, Shoot Back at ‘Hired Gun’ Assumptions

July 3rd, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Are jurors going to  believe someone paid to come into the courtroom and deliver an opinion that supports the side who’s paying? While the jurors’ assent may not be as automatic as the experts and their clients hope it would be, in courtrooms every day and across the country, jurors do follow … Experts, Shoot Back at ‘Hired Gun’ Assumptions Read More »

Don’t Look for AI to Pick Your Jury…Yet

June 26th, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: I don’t know if anything has ever in such a short time moved from being a pretty esoteric science topic to being a concern on everyone’s lips… but ChatGPT could probably tell me. With literally billions of uses per month, the artificial intelligence-driven chatbot has captured our attention and created a mix of excitement and dread. It has become a cliche to talk about how dramatic the shift will be as the technology moves toward displacing tasks like writing and customer service. It is also a cliche to talk about how the “jury is still out” on

Treat Big Talkers as Jury Leaders

June 22nd, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: It is a jury’s first task: Pick a foreperson, someone who will lead the discussion, help the group walk through the evidence, and work their way to a decision. Who gets picked? The person who is experienced at being a juror? The person who holds a leadership role in their work life? The person who is the most knowledgeable or intelligent? The answer from the research is that it is none of those. What best predicts the emergence of leaders in a small group is talkativeness. In other words, the person who speaks the most, regardless

Build Trust in Justice

June 19th, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: It’s been a season of some firsts: An ex-President, and the leading candidate for a major party nomination, has been criminally indicted (twice so far), and found civilly liable for defamation (once and counting). Rather than mounting a substantive defense, the candidate and ex-official has used the remaining ‘bully pulpit’ to repeatedly attack both the civil and criminal justice systems as well as those who work within them. To many of us, these daily attacks might seem so exaggerated and so self-serving that they can’t possibly be gaining traction. But they are. After bringing a majority of his

Fight False Equivalence (and Other ‘Low Effort’ Arguments)

June 12th, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Trump’s second indictment is now unsealed, this one framing 37 federal felony counts for willfully retaining classified records at his private residence, and for trying to obstruct the efforts of the FBI and others in trying to recover these documents. Predictably, the response from the former President’s supporters has been to focus on what they say are the comparable actions of others. For example, you may have heard about 1,850 boxes of documents that President Biden supposedly has illegally kept in a Chinatown location. Except he doesn’t. The claim stems from Biden’s records from his time

For Now, Treat AI as “a Good and Confident Liar”

June 8th, 2023|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Right now, we are in a liminal moment with technology. No, I’m not talking about the new Apple goggles, necessarily, but about seemingly sudden emergence of engines like ChatGPT, which have opened a lot of possibilities on where it is likely to go. The proverbial jury is out about how and when generative artificial intelligence will be changing our lives. Many seem to prosthelytize a bright future with many human tasks being eased, while many others are issuing dire warnings about reduced human creativity and a slipping grip on reality. Amid the intellectual turmoil, one truly

Pull Your Potential Jurors Out from under the ‘Blanket of Anonymity’

June 5th, 2023|

Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: You’re in the first moments of jury selection, looking at the pool of fresh and still-unknown panelists. At this early phase, those who are talking or itching to talk are, without fail, those who want out: They’re self-employed, have significant work responsibilities coming up, are booked for an upcoming vacation, or all of the above, and they want you and the judge to know it. The rest of the group, however, is settled in, apparently focused on just getting through this exercise with a minimum of attention directed at them. They are keeping quiet and they’re not eager