The new online edition of The Jury Expert has several articles of interest to the trial practitioner.
The authors note the extensive research on rhetorical or argument based communications to the “jury” with narrative communications. While the research into narrative argument is relatively young, there are useful considerations for todays trial litigator.
We all watch the members as the trial proceeds. We are hoping to gauge their “opinion,” exhibited by body language, facial expression, and questions they ask.
Contrary to Dr. Spock’s steady stoicism throughout the classic Star Trek series, human beings typically experience different, and sometimes strong, feelings throughout the course of a day. We may feel angry when we get cut off in traffic, experience sadness when we hear the news of a friend suffering from illness, or have a sense of pride when someone compliments us on a job well done. These everyday emotion experiences are common occurrences, but only recently have the effects of these emotions on individuals judgments and decisions been investigated; though even Aristotle (350, B.C.E/1991) suggested that emotions may influence human judgment.
Who hasn’t had to do that – “Ma’am, I didn’t do it.” “Umm, well the evidence suggests . . . “ Or, “He raped me.” “Umm, well the evidence suggests . . . “ Point being that both sides in a criminal case have potentially good or bad news to present.