Don’t Count on Being Able to Cure Implicit Bias

December 1st, 2022|Your Trial Message|

By Dr. Ken Broda Bahm: Within the last few years, at least a few courts in the U.S. have started to wake up to some of the realities of the cognitive biases that can be an obstacle to a fair criminal or civil trial. For generations, courts have acted as though potential jurors could easily know and effectively shut off those biases. In many courts, of course, that is still the practice, with judges in effect clearing jurors with the question, “So you’re not biased, or you can set it aside? Good. Next.” But in a few jurisdictions, courts are

Witnesses, Do Your Homework

November 28th, 2022|Your Trial Message|

By Dr. Ken Broda Bahm: Every witness preparing for testimony is going to prepare a little bit differently. Those helping with that prep need to adapt to the unique challenges presented by opposing counsel, the case characteristics, the witness’s role within the case, and the witness’s personality and communication habits. But there are inevitably some common features and messages contained in that preparation session. One common feature is the need for witnesses to do some follow-up “homework” on their own. Not everything can be durably fixed during the constraints of a single meeting, or even a series of meetings. And

How do jurors respond to a LGBTQ+ panic defense? | Online Jury Research Update

November 27th, 2022|ComCon (Kathy Kellermann Communication Consulting)|

A LGBTQ+ panic defense is a legal strategy that asks jurors, directly or implicitly, to consider a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to explain a criminal defendant's violent reaction, including murder... Recent research has sought to identify characteristics of jurors that predispose them to finding a LGBTQ+ panic defense legitimate....

Almost Like Cheating

November 24th, 2022|2's Company - Magnus Insights|

I keep a list of things clients have said during or after working with us on mock jury research. These tidbits illustrate the eye opening reactions some attorneys have when observing jurors deliberate. One of my favorites was from (now retired) Pete Burkert in Fort Myers, FL. After a series of mock juries, he said, excitedly, “It’s almost like cheating!” He was thrilled to know what resonated with typical jurors so that he could customize his case presentation. Knowing potential outcomes is one thing. Learning how to talk to a jury in their language is, however, critical in achieving

Do context-related nonprobative photos help or hurt a witness' credibility? | Online Jury Research Update

November 22nd, 2022|ComCon (Kathy Kellermann Communication Consulting)|

hile information nonprobative to the truth of a statement is not admissible in court, it nonetheless often is presented as a part of probative evidence. .. Research has found that when judging the truth value of a statement, people's sense of the truth is affected by nonprobative information. For example, people are more likely to say a statement is true when accompanied by a context-related photo than when no photo is present... This "truthiness" effect reflects the influence of information nonprobative of the truth on people's judgments of truth. Derksen and colleagues (2020) conducted two experiments exploring the role of

Persuade Through Process

November 21st, 2022|Your Trial Message|

By Dr. Ken Broda Bahm: There is a danger in what I call the “product” orientation toward persuasion. That orientation focuses on persuasion as an outcome, as a discrete “thing” that is transferred from a sender to a receiver. The advocate in effect thinks, “I have something — it is called a correct opinion — and my mission is to transfer that from me to you.” In some ways, this product orientation is embedded in our language: We talk about how well we can “sell” an idea, or check to see whether our target is “buying” it or not. Instead of