Entries Tagged as 'Jury Selection'

Oops, How Do You Make Chloroform Anyway?

COURTS , CRIME , JURY CONSULTANT , Ask Amy , Casey Anthony , Caylee Anthony , False Accusation , Juror Profiling , Jury Analytics , Jury Selection , MURDER TRIAL , Social Media , Trial Consultants , Twitter , Wizpor No Comments »

By: Amy Singer, PhD., Kristina Denius, JD. & Dan Reyes

 March 6, 2017

 It has been five and a half years since a jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her three-year-old daughter, Caylee. From the moment little Caylee’s body was found, wrapped tenderly in a blanket in a marshy area not far from her grandparents’ home, there has been much speculation about what happened to cause the toddler’s death. At trial, the Prosecution argued that Caylee was killed when her mother chloroformed her and placed duct tape over her mouth, suffocating her.

 Earlier this week, Former Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who presided over the case, spoke out about what he now believes was the cause of Caylee’s death—an accidental chloroform overdose. With all due respect to Judge Perry, he got half of it right, in that it was an accident. However, not by chloroform overdose. The Defense team has always maintained that this was a tragic accidental drowning. When comparing the Prosecution and Defense differing scenarios, there are compelling reasons the Defense argument simply makes more sense. 

Occam’s Razor posits that the simplest explanation or solution to a problem is usually right. Here are some of the more confusing and complicated aspects of the Prosecution arguments in this case: 

The Prosecution presented evidence that Casey Anthony was conducting her own Google investigation into discovering the formula for chloroform. This is a red herring. The truth is, at that time, Casey was concerned (rightly so) about an alarming posting on her boyfriend’s MySpace page proclaiming, “Win her over with Chloroform.” I would be investigating what that meant and what it meant about the person I was dating as well.

 

Hollywood paints an unrealistic, fantastic picture of how chloroform works. It isn’t as simple as sneaking up behind a targeted person, covering their face with a chloroformed rag, and immediately the prospective victim is rendered unconscious and collapses into a comatose heap.  The Chloroform Theory requires magical thinking about with how easy and simple it is to  make chloroform. There is no simple recipe for creating chloroform wherein a person waves a magic wand and a bucket of chloroform appears. This is not like making chocolate chip cookies out of frozen Pillsbury Cookie Dough. Chloroform is an extremely dangerous, highly toxic compound.  It attacks the nervous system, the respiratory system, the liver and kidneys, and can be deadly to anyone trying to create it. Imagining that a novice like Casey Anthony could effortlessly whip up a batch of chloroform without killing herself or anyone near here is like imagining that she could manufacture Benadryl or methamphetamine in her nonexistent pharmaceutical warehouse.

Speaking of Benadryl, if Casey’s motive in supposedly researching the formula for chloroform was to quiet a boisterous child for a little while, why not drive to the corner pharmacy and pick up some over-the-counter Benadryl or Nyquil and follow the  dosing instructions for children under the age of twelve? Why not a tablespoon of whiskey in her sippy cup,  the method favored by some of our grandmothers back in the day?

How do you make chloroform, anyway?

 

The Prosecution made a  big deal about the fact that there was chlorine present in George’s car. In fact, there is a very elementary, non-sinister explanation for the presence of chlorine chemicals in George’s car. And, it has nothing to do with Casey placing a chloroform-soaked rag over her daughter’s nose and mouth.  There is no evidence that directly connects Casey to chloroform or any chlorine product for that matter.  The car smelled liked chlorine because when Casey’s father George picked his car up from the impound lot; it had a bag of garbage in it that had been baking in the hot Florida sun for days and had understandably created a terrific stink. George did what anyone would do under those circumstances; he cleaned the car with a strong odor-killing cleaner agent to rid the smell of rotting garbage from his vehicle. 

What is the simplest way to explain what happened in this case? In the summertime in Florida, children tragically drown almost every day. When is the last time you heard of a child, or anyone for that matter, dying due to a chloroform overdose? Anywhere?

 As the head Trial Consultant for the Defense in this case, I asked members of the American Society of Trial Consultants Association (ASTC) and my interns, to look over the comments and feedback garnered from the video stream of the trial which included the comments to the trial action in real time.

 The experience our team had in and through the Casey Anthony trial spawned what soon became a breakthrough in the Jury Research space.  We created our own patented Wizpor® technology. In the early days, we experimented with Dan Reyes, CEO of Trilogy Trial Consultants on the AV technology. Eventually Trial Consultants, Inc created software for analysis of this qualitative data.  This ground-breaking tool in the area of jury research and the collection of litigation intel on facts, issues, arguments, witnesses etc utilizes any type of participant focus group. 

 Interestingly, the ASTC members monitoring the video stream of the trial and simultaneous reactions to witnesses, arguments, and testimony found that folks watching the trial were curious about chloroform and started looking it up on Google themselves. They sought information and communicated about chloroform. They were wondering, “How do you make chloroform, anyway?”

 What we uncovered was that while there was a great deal of information about the ingredients for chloroform, there was no set formula that could lead a lay person to concoct a chloroform cocktail. They discovered that attempting to make chloroform is not a simple process and is in fact highly dangerous, particularly to the kidneys, and can be deadly simply by inadvertently inhaling the product or spilling it on the skin. Furthermore, they noted, there was no chloroform located in the Anthony household. If the goal was to put Caylee to sleep, than using chloroform would be similar to using a nuclear bomb to swat a fly.

If Casey’s motive in supposedly researching the formula for chloroform was to quiet a boisterous child for a little while, why not drive to the corner pharmacy and pick up some over-the-counter Benadryl or Nyquil and follow the  dosing instructions for children under the age of twelve? Why not a tablespoon of whiskey in her sippy cup,  the method favored by some of our grandmothers back in the day?  There are much easier, less dangerous ways to go about this, and all it takes is a few dollars and a trip to the local pharmacy. Ultimately, our analysis mirrored with the same conclusions as the jury in Orlando. 

 

 

Finally, the camera captures what the camera wants to capture. But what the jurors in the Orlando courtroom were focusing on was Casey’s father George, because his role in this sad case is rather mysterious. The Prosecution Expert asks, “who doesn’t report an accident?” The answer, for whatever reason, is Casey Anthony. The defense maintains that on the day Caylee most likely drowned, George was supposed to be baby-sitting. The only witness to what happened never came forward. In the end, however, the simplest solution screams that it IS the answer. Even the presiding Judge agrees this was an accident. Although, not by chloroform overdose, not by chloroform at all.

 Ask yourself what is more likely, that as Casey and the Defense have been saying all along, there was a tragic accident and a little girl drowned accidentally in a pool on a simmering hot Florida summer day; or that there was some sort of complicated chloroform conspiracy gone terribly awry?  Cut to the chase simply, and Occam’s Razor has the most sensible answer.

 

  1. see www.wizpor.com for information on the technology and how it works. 
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“More Bull” – A deeper look into the new hit show on CBS

#DrBullReadsYou , Ask Amy , Bull , CBS , Dr.Phil , Experts/Witnesses , Juror Profiling , Jury Analytics , Jury Selection , News and Views , Persuasion , real- time social media analytics , Trial Consultants , Trial Topics , Wizpor No Comments »
  Posted on 11/10/2016 – Trial Consultants, Inc.® and Wizpor® 

By: Dr. Amy Singer, Ph.D & Kristina Denius, JD.

The new CBS television hit series “Bull” follows Dr. Jason Bull, an extremely intelligent, cocky, yet charming trial/litigation scientist who is hired by attorneys to ensure that the verdict in the deliberation room is favorable to their client. Week after week, Dr. Bull achieves this by analyzing how a potential juror will react to certain facts in any given case, and whether their decision making process will lead that juror to vote for his client. Dr. Bull has an uncanny knack for discovering what makes people tick. He is an astute observer with a keen sense of intuition that borders on clairvoyant. He uses his observations about human behavior and attitudes to manipulate juror thinking in such a way that the panel as a whole ultimately finds in his client’s favor. All of this is achieved not without the usual Hollywood tactics, sometimes outlandish, made-for-television entertainment embellishments.  For instance, no trial consultant who wants a long and successful career would actually treat their attorney colleagues as rudely and disrespectfully as Dr. Bull does. 


A troubling off-shoot of the “Bull” phenomenon is the paranoia it fosters in its viewer-ship.  The “Big Brother” type manner in which Dr. Bull is able to “dig up” personal information on potential jurors with the whisk of a keystroke is alarming to some viewers, even sparking concerns about the future of the American judicial system. Some find the possibility that certain “skeletons in the closet” could be unveiled by a trial consultant during jury research, or actual jury duty, downright scary. However, there is no need for panic. No trial consultant worth their salt would ever seek such information. Not only is it impractical to do so, it is well established in the trial science community that such information does not correlate to jury verdicts. 

Ironically, the most revealing information about a juror is information that most people are happy to share with others, such asan individual’s core beliefs, aka their value beliefs. Value Beliefs are the core internal precepts by which people think and operate, and as such are very unlikely to ever change. For example, “I believe that taking care of one’s elders in their twilight years is essential to family structure” is a value belief, and to the delight of trial consultants everywhere, people take pride in their value beliefs and talk about them freely with no need for any invasive prying. This is the sort of information that people WANT to share with others, and it is the type of information that enables trial consultants to do their jobs so well. 

In order to promote “Bull,” CBS has partnered with Vigiglobe’s “social media analytic platform” to launch “What Type of Juror are You?” a cyber-oriented experience that interacts with users on Twitter.  Users who want to find out what “type” of juror Dr. Bull believes they might be enter the “Bull” Twitter handle (@BullCBS) with the tag #DrBullReadsYou. Based on an analysis of the individual’s previous tweets, Vigiglobe’s program then classifies the individual into one of six categories: BelievaBULL, GulliBULL, ReasonaBULL, DependaBULL, NoBULL, or SwayaBULL.  While this “digital jury analytics experience” may have proven to be a slick and successful marketing tool for CBS and “Bull” the television show, what does this sort of technology mean for the attorney, the client, and the ultimate outcome of their case, in the real world? The simple answer is, “not much.” 

Demographics, life experiences, and personality traits of people can certainly be interesting. But, the fact that you are a divorced female taxi driver with a golden retriever, and people think you are nice, does not tell us anything about whether or not you are going to award nine million dollars in a products liability case where the main issue is causation.  

Interestingly, the question for the trial consultant is not “how do you go about determining who the best potential jurors are in this case?” Rather, because the jury selection process is actually a “Deselection®” process, the question becomes “what type of person are we looking to eliminate given the evidence, testimony and arguments in this particular case?” Selecting a jury is actually a process of using carefully tuned voir dire questions to “weed out” jurors who will be the most dangerous to an attorney’s case, based on core value beliefs. 

For instance, the IBM Watson Program can tell us that a person has a low tolerance for ambiguity, and this is how it will affect their perception of the jury instructions for causation in a products liability case. Because causation is by its very nature intrinsically subjective, this type of juror is a red flag, one that must be carefully evaluated with other “tolerance for ambiguity factors” in order to advise plaintiff’s counsel about whether or not to use their precious peremptory challenges.  In fact, given the arsenal of factor analysis for ambiguity available to the psychologist, this person would probably go for cause.

That isn’t to say there are not software systems out there that purport to have a magic formula, algorithms, or the key, to accurately predicting future juror behavior.  There are plenty of software programs that say “this is who this person is.” But that’s not going far enough to actually predict juror behavior, to predict how a particular juror is going to internalize, and then vote on, a particular aspect of a case. To do that, a savvy trial scientist needs to step beyond the limited scope of the analysis performed by CBS with “Bull” viewers. 

Wizpor technology and its Voltaire application are constantly evolving to meet this end. Wizpor analyzes information in real time as it is being gathered electronically from mock jury and focus group participants.  Each response is coded by dependent variables, which include Questions, Observations, Judgments, Game Changers, Identification/Relating Statements, and Emotional Responses. These variables tell us what is important to the juror, and how the juror is internalizing the information presented about the case particulars. In this manner, Wizpor technology is achieving what “#DrBullReadsYou” has not, the ability to not only tell you what “type” of person you are dealing with, but more importantly the additional how this “type” will respond to your case. Telling somebody that this person is a dog lover is not as important as understanding whether dog lovers award more money for disfigurement. By the way, if you don’t know the answer, now understand why not: one variable does not a factor make.

Wizpor is complemented by the Voltaire Application, which mines social media information, market research information, and public record information with their proprietary analytics. Voltaire takes massive amounts of data, impossible for a human being to analyze, and analyzes it in milliseconds. The information that is mined goes through various algorithms to tell you how all of this information affects case strategy, and with Deselection® decisions, results in a much lower error rate than what the archaic “Bull” Made-for-TV methods are showing, “freaking out” the public.  In this way, Wizpor and Voltaire not only give the attorney important data, but also tell the attorney what that data means for their case. And this is invaluable knowledge to have when precious principles of justice are at stake for the attorney’s client.

For more information on Trial Consultants, Inc.® and Wizpor® which features Persuasion Research Technology® please visit: www.trialconsultants.com or www.wizpor.com.

You may also email our firm at Trialconsultants@gmail.com or Jurydoctor@aol.com to speak with our team about these new and innovative methods for jury research and trial strategy. 

 

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CBS Launches New Digital ‘Jury Analytics’ Experience in Anticipation of New Drama Series “BULL”

#DrBullReadsYou , CBS , Dr.Phil , Juror Profiling , Jury Analytics , Jury Selection , real- time social media analytics , Social Media , Twitter , What type of juror are you? 1 Comment »

Originally Posted By: TV News Desk on September 16,2016 – See Below for Original Article

 

To promote its new drama series BULL, CBS has launched a digital experience, which, in a first for a U.S. entertainment company, utilizes an innovative algorithm that profiles and interacts with users in real time on Twitter.

The Network has partnered with Vigiglobe, a specialist in real-time social media analytics, for its “What Type of Juror Are You?” digital activation for BULL on Twitter. The activation mirrors the profiling prowess and high-tech approach applied by the character Dr. Jason Bull, the extraordinarily successful trial consultant on CBS’s new Tuesday night series.

To participate, people simply send a tweet to the Bull Twitter handle (@BullCBS) with the tag #DrBullReadsYou. “Dr. Bull” scans the participant’s previous tweets and tweets back a personalized analysis about the kind of juror the person might be. The categories of jurors are BelievaBULL, GulliBULL, ReasonaBULL, DependaBULL, NoBULL or SwayaBULL. The user can click to share the results on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

BULL premieres Tuesday, Sept. 20 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT). The drama stars Michael Weatherly as the brilliant, brash and charming Dr. Jason Bull, who combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick and to create winning strategies that steer high-stakes trials in his clients’ favor. BULL is inspired by the early career of DR. PHIL McGraw, the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Annabelle Attanasio and Chris Jackson also star.

About Vigiglobe: Vigiglobe specializes in real-time social media analytics. With WIZR™, its cutting edge technology that uses proprietary machine learning algorithms that analyze social media interactions in real time, Vigiglobe helps the media, brands, agencies and institutions LEVERAGE the power of social media content.

About CBS: CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) is a mass media company that creates and distributes industry-leading content across a variety of platforms to audiences around the world. The Company has businesses with origins that date back to the dawn of the broadcasting age as well as new ventures that operate on the leading edge of media. CBS owns the most-watched television network in the U.S. and one of the world’s largest libraries of entertainment content, making its brand – “the Eye” – one of the most recognized in business. The Company’s operations span virtually every field of media and entertainment, including cable, publishing, radio, local TV, film, and interactive and socially responsible media. CBS’s businesses includeCBS Television Network, The CW (a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment), CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International, CBS Television Distribution, CBS Consumer Products, CBS Home Entertainment, CBS Interactive, CBS Films,Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, Pop (a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Lionsgate), Smithsonian Networks, Simon & Schuster, CBS Television Stations, CBS Radio andCBS EcoMedia. For more information, go to www.cbscorporation.com.

TO READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE CLICK HERE: http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/CBS-Launches-New-Digital-Experience-in-Anticipation-of-New-Drama-Series-BULL-20160916 

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Need a Clear Roadmap for Successful Trial Strategy?

Jury Selection , Persuasion No Comments »

January 13, 2016

By Amy Singer, Ph.D., and Kemberlee Bonnet, M.A.

Part 1

Have you ever conducted a Decision Navigation® research study? It’s an excellent tool that allows researchers to plan a very detailed decision tree for successful litigation strategy. Think of it as a “reverse engineering of the verdict form.” Rather than the attorney questioning the surrogate jurors, these surrogate jurors interrogate the attorney. When the surrogate jurors conclude questioning, they deliberate and reach a verdict. In this type of focus group, surrogate jurors help provide us with the ideas for themes, pivotal points, and “keys” to the case.

We receive startling questions from surrogate jurors that attorneys were not expecting that we found, were in fact, to be important. For example, many years ago I had the privilege of working with Edward Bennett Williams on a tax evasion case. Naturally, our focus was on accounting, appraisals and evaluation. However that was not the focus from our research panels! What did they continuously ask about? The only answers they wanted pertained to the “cast of characters” within and between organizations and the defendant’s physical proximity to people who made the financial decisions. The defendant was “off the hook” because if he was not in “the same office” or did not have any communication with the financial folks, he could not be guilty of tax evasion. The case was about “distancing,” not “accounting.”

We used this data to analyze reactions and decision-making processes in order to brainstorm creative solutions to the problem areas identified. As a result, we scientifically constructed successful trial strategies and voir dire techniques.

Reasons the Decision Navigation® technique works:

1. Unlike traditional “mock trials” the Decision Navigation® data reveal to us what jurors want to know and the order in which they want to know it. This is the most important component of the Decision Navigation® research findings, as it allows us to analyze the trajectory of jurors’ cognitive “mapping” and information processing, thus enabling you, for example, to create your visual aids and series-of-events diagrams at an exceedingly effective level.

For example, we found out just how important “order of information” was in a complex commercial case. We were working for the defense. Surrogate jurors were hopelessly lost and overloaded with information. We switched the order of our presentation of certain facts.

Nothing helped. We turned to the demonstrative evidence folks to explain simple concepts (to us). Nothing worked. Was it too complicated for a jury trial? In our last attempt, we did a reverse engineering of the verdict form to get an idea of “what they wanted to know and when they wanted to know it.” We based our presentation on the order of the questions our surrogate jurors asked. We decided to tell the story from each plaintiff’s point of view. We told the story in this order: who was each plaintiff? What happened to each plaintiff? What did the plaintiffs know and not know? The graphics team went to work based on our revised strategy and we got a defense verdict.

2. Decision Navigation® informs us how jurors will perceive the facts of the case. Perception is of utmost importance, as people operate based on what they already know, grounded in their own experiences. It is vital to make sure that jurors are on the same page. Once we understand surrogate jurors’ perceptions, we can successfully build a strategy for the actual jurors on your panel that best guides them through the evidence, presenting it with an anchor- a life experience in which they can relate.

We worked on a case where the plaintiff was viewed as stoic and had horrible injuries. It was one of the “lucky to be alive” cases. My client, the plaintiff’s attorney, was concerned that folds would not understand the extent of his client’s injuries. The client himself was in denial. Obviously, we relied on the doctor’s testimony to get the seriousness of his injuries to the jury. What did we do? We video streamed “mock” cross examination of the plaintiff to a group of people who could respond anonymously (we know the people in the group, but did not know who was texting what). The technique is known as Simultaneous Reaction to Stimulus (SRS). The simultaneous reactions to the witness from our line SRS group revealed to us that as long as the plaintiff spoke about his high pain tolerance level, we would win over the jurors. Many of the subjects in our online group kept saying, “I have a high pain tolerance level, but I wouldn’t do that.” That was the perception we needed, and gave us some important clues for voir dire.

3. Decision Navigation® is enormously effective in the identification areas of confusion. By identifying areas in which surrogate jurors are confused, you can create effective analogies and metaphors, as we have found these to be the best way to ensure clarity in the trial setting. The analogy and/or metaphor will explain things to jurors in a way that it will make sense and aid in the understanding of a concept of which was initially confusing. When jurors relate to your analogies and the metaphors, they will truly understand your discourse.

We were working on a defective products case where we are alleging manufacturing as opposed to design defect. We needed an analogy. Maybe you already have a great analogy, but we didn’t. My client, Ervin Gonzalez, after interaction with our live Decision Navigation® group, came up with a great analogy. The analogy was to a hamburger. “There was nothing wrong with the recipe, but that particular hamburger was made incorrectly.” The analogy worked.

4. Decision Navigation® methodology allows us to identify what is irrelevant to surrogate jurors in their decision-making process. You do not want to increase jurors’ “cognitive load” with information that they do not need- this will impose unnecessary mental effort. The cognitive load can be reduced by quickly identifying the relevant stimuli so that you can methodically organize it into meaningful subsets.

It will come as no surprise to my personal injury defense attorneys that causation is king. While plaintiff attorneys focus on negligence, the defense bar focuses on cause. Here’s the trick question: what is relevant when raising a causation defense? My client and I decided to work chronologically to show there was no causation in a medical malpractice case.

The damages were horrific in this psychiatric malpractice case. Leading with our best punch, we did not want to work backwards from the consequential to the antecedent even. It didn’t work. Nothing worked. Angry about falling below the standard of care and the sympathy of slaughtering many innocent people were “killing us.” We even had some surrogate jurors tell us afterwards that they would never participate in another one of these exercises again.

An even trickier question: what would be relevant in raising a causation defense in this particular high-publicity case? We conducted 10 Decision Navigation® studies focusing solely on causation. Surrogate jurors were told up front what the negligence and damages were, just to make things more difficult form my client. We kept focusing on the plaintiff and defense experts who testified exactly as you would expect. What we didn’t expect is that our surrogate jurors could not care less about what these experts had to say about the plaintiff- it was the type of mental illness he had and the odds of stopping him once he was hell-bent on his homicidal/suicidal spree.

What they were least interested in was what other psychiatrists’ success rates would be if our client followed the standard of care and treatment plan. There was only one thing our research groups focused on: the decedent’s family. Without hearing any evidence, everyone agreed that if this lunatic could be stopped, he could only be stopped by certain actions of his family. We studied what actions jurors would expect and the likelihood of those actions stopping the decedent. We relayed our intel to the demonstrative evidence department and once surrogate jurors saw the exhibits, they could not be convinced that the psychiatrist caused the injuries. I bet you haven’t heard about his case. You would have heard about it if the plaintiffs won.

5. Decision Navigation® data allows us to identify the best way to present (channel) the testimony and evidence (perception). The methodology shows us how to identify the best technique to anchor jurors’ existing attitudes into a different or similar direction, rather than trying to create new attitudes (change attitudes that are not value-based).

Decision Navigation® methodology enables us to identify factors that will enhance learning and memory. After identifying the important evidence and word associations through the Decision Navigation® study, you can use the appropriate psychological tool to facilitate and solidify learning. This includes the use of repetition to expedite memory and call attention to selective stimuli and also foster elaboration on those stimuli for memory enhancement.

One of my clients, Chris Searcy, had an auto case in which he had a computer animation of what happened according to the accident reconstruction experts. In our Decision Navigation® study, we learned that sometimes things are better left to the imagination. Just like the book is usually better than the movie, we discovered that Chris’ storytelling ability was better than the animation to maximize jurors’ perception, learning and memory of how the collision occurred.

The case was bifurcated between liability and damages.  At trial the first jury found 93% liability on the solvent defendant, a construction company, 7% on the uninsured defendant driver, and 0% on the plaintiff.  The second jury resulted in a verdict totaling $256 million dollars ($145 million for the plaintiff quadriplegic child, $66 million for the plaintiff hemiplegic child, and $50 million for the wrongful death of 6 year-old). A true testament to Chris and his ability to draw pictures with words.

6. Decision Navigation® methodology enables us to identify factors that will enhance learning and memory. After identifying the important evidence and word association through the Decision Navigation® study, you can use those to facilitate and solidify learning. This includes the use of repetition to expedite memory and call attention to selective stimuli and also foster elaboration on those stimuli for memory enhancement.

Conclusion

As you can see from the aforementioned examples, the Decision Navigation® has worked time and again. This methodology and design is based on scientifically-acceptable principles that have proved to hold up in court. This technique is unique, and our scientific jury research delivers reliable and valid direction; finding the most powerful and persuasive arguments while testing for and eliminating problem areas. When there is zero room for error, our jury-driven, psychologically-based testing provides a platform for creativity and effective construction of your paradigm.

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Applied Kabbalah: 10 Sacred Attributes to Integrate into Litigation – Part Four: Kindness

Jury Selection No Comments »

November 3, 2015

By Amy Singer, Ph.D. and Kemberlee Bonnet 

In our prior article we discussed the sacred attribute of Chokmah, which translates to “wisdom” (Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation – Part three: Wisdom, June 17, 2015), and that the attributes of knowledge and understanding must be appropriately combined to form wisdom.  Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are considered the three  “intellect” attributes. Without the jury having knowledge, understanding and wisdom of your testimony, evidence and arguments: you lose.

Now we will move to the remaining seven attributes that deal with the emotional aspects of your case. The first emotional attribute in the Sephroit is Chesed, which translates to “kindness.” Chokmah and Chesed are connected, as wisdom provides us with the capacity to connect with our emotions intelligently, not making decisions on some arbitrary whim. This is how the Sephroit works- the attributes are not exclusive; rather, they work as a system.

Jurors are instructed to make decisions based on fact, but as humans, it is difficult to leave one’s emotions behind. We all have emotions, but in actuality, they have us. Although emotions are considered irrational when it comes to making a decision, they are useful in getting us in tune to a situation, but only if we are intelligent with them. Too much of any Sephroit attribute is not good- although it might sound odd to say there can be too much kindness, it is not. Imagine if a juror feels more kindness towards one side versus the other? In order for there to be justice, there must be kindness; kindness towards both sides equally.

So what is kindness? Kindness (Chesed) is a core ethical virtue.[i] It is much more than being pleasant and wishing someone well, it is associated with action, a pro-active virtue.[ii]  The difference between kindness and “being nice” or empathetic is that kindness is associated with action. Chesed is properly described as an act that has no “cause”- it is a gift in which the receiver owes nothing in return.[iii] For example, you run out of gas and someone has a gas can and helps you. If it is truly a Chesed act, they will expect nothing in return for letting you use their gas can.

Kindness is different from compassion. In kindness, a person may feel sorry for someone but will not reflect the suffering person’s feelings.[iv] Compassion is a deeper and stronger feeling, as compared to kindness. An act of compassion would involve, for example, talking to a person and understanding their emotions and problems, delving much deeper into the situation at hand at a more personal level. This, of course would be impossible for a juror to do from the jury panel. Kindness is not sympathy. Litigators do not want sympathy, they want kindness in judgment. Justice can never be based on sympathy.

Kindness Must be Equally Felt Among the Parties

A juror must separate the head from the heart and follow the law. There is an expectation that the law be followed. It sounds contradictory to Chesed, where nothing is to be expected from one’s actions; however, justice is always expected- but to get to justice one must be impartial. One cannot expect a certain turnout because of his or her own beliefs, values or morals. So in order to dispense justice you truly have to expect nothing of benefit for yourself but the truth. To do otherwise would be unfair or unkind to one side of the law either to the state, the victim or even the defendant.

I consulted on a case where a young drunk driver killed an elderly woman. Obviously those individuals who felt sorry for one side more so than the other were excused for cause. The other jurors were kind in their judgments to both sides. They had the intellectual attributes of knowledge, understanding and wisdom for both sides. They understood the tragedy for both sides. In their minds, justice was awarding exactly what the plaintiff asked for in compensatory damages. Furthermore, they awarded exactly as much as the defense wanted in punitive damages. The verdict was not appealed. Both sides felt that justice was served.

Conclusion

Even a positive trait such as Chesed has undesirable spin-offs if it is not applied correctly. One should not want to have Chesed at the expense of another. Further, if a person does not have well-defined boundaries then he may find it difficult to avoid misrepresentation because honesty requires the ability to follow the boundaries of truth.[v] A juror might have the natural propensity for Chesed, but he cannot allow his natural dispositions to lead him instinctively. Rather, he must balance his Chesed when necessary.



 

 

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