Monday, February 13, 2017

Some Things for Trial Lawyers to Consider in Trial

It has always amazed me the way that evidence, even in 2017,  is presented in jury trials in a 20th century way, even with video depositions and digital graphic models.  It is well-documented that individuals learn in a variety of ways: by listening, by seeing, by a combination of the two plus taking notes, by having a dialogue with questions and answers.  I have presided over jury trials where there are few if any maps or photos depicting where and how the incident occurred.  Yet lawyers and judges are shocked when jurors do on-line research at home or even visit the scene of the crime or accident.  Particularly millenials want all of the information to make a reasoned decision and they are used to having it at their fingertips.  They believe they can sift the truth from the untrue online.  Yet judges and lawyers put them "in a box", literally and figuratively, telling them they can only consider what they hear and see during trial in the courtroom.

One of the many possible solutions to reducing the possibility of jurors hitting the Internet for answers is a stipulated trial notebook, maybe a three-ring binder or even a tablet not accessible to the Internet, containing:

Photos and videos
Important paper exhibits
names and photos of witnesses
stipulated facts
glossary of terms and their definitions, such as medical and scientific terms

Jurors want the story....THE WHOLE STORY.  They don't like that the judge and lawyers (who are in an exclusive club) are keeping them from hearing and seeing the whole story.  Jurors want to make a good decision.

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