Entries Tagged as 'Trial Topics'

“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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The Curious Case of Philando Castile and the Little Voice in the Backseat

Philando Castile , Trial Topics No Comments »

The Curious Case of Philando Castile and the Little Voice in the Backseat:

 By: Dr. Amy Singer and Kristina Denius, JD.

August 30,2016

One of the more disturbing aspects of this case is the presence of the four year old child in the backseat of the vehicle being driven by Mr. Castile. This child, whose mother Diamond Reynolds was in the front passenger seat, witnessed Mr. Castile get shot by an officer of the law three to four times and bleed out and die right before her. Did Officer Yanez see the child before he fired the fatal shots? If he didn’t see the child, should he have seen her by looking in the backseat before firing? What is the police protocol in this situation? What should the police protocol be?

 

The child was physically unharmed, but what sort of lingering effects, emotionally and mentally, will this child carry with her for the rest of her life from having witnessed the carnage that unfolded before her? Is it ever okay to shoot into a vehicle when there are children present? Do you believe the child was in danger from a ricocheting errantly fired bullet? If she was does that matter?

 

What sort of effect will this have on this child’s trust and attitudes towards the police as she carries on with her life? 

 

How does this case differ from that of Korynn Brown, a Baltimore woman who was shot dead on August 1, 2016 while simultaneously holding a shotgun and a five year old boy on her lap during an altercation with police? What effect should the presence of children have on police officer’s in their decision making of whether to shoot or not to shoot? Under what circumstances is the decision to shoot someone dead when there are innocents possibly in the crossfire, the right decision? Is it ever the right decision?

 

The most heartbreaking aspect of this case may be the little voice that can be heard on the video from the backseat of the car. Ms. Reynolds can be heard sobbing in the back of the car with her daughter. 

“It’s OK … I’m right here with you,” the little girl said, apparently trying to comfort her mother.

Is anything ever really going to be OK again for anyone involved in this story?

 

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Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation – Part three: Wisdom

Trial Topics No Comments »

In our most recent article we discussed the sacred attribute of Binah, (Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation - Part two: Understanding, May 5, 2015) which translates to “understanding.” We specifically discussed the importance of unifying a juror with a case-specific situation that they cannot personally identify with initially, because they have never experienced that situation themselves.  We have also previously discussed the sacred attribute of Da’at, which translates to “knowledge,” and the importance of not simply providing information to jurors, but connecting them with case-specific facts. Now we will discuss the third attribute of Kabbalah, Chokmah, which translates to “wisdom.”[1]  

The two attributes of “knowledge” and “understanding” are intellectual, and must appropriately combine to become “wisdom” in order to be useful, as intellect and analysis work up until a certain point.[2] Once you know what to do with the information that you have, you are essentially entrusted with the wisdom to carry it out.

What is Wisdom?

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Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation Part two: Understanding

Trial Topics No Comments »

By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

 

In our previous article we discussed Da’at, (Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation, March 12, 2015) which translates to “knowledge” and we discussed the importance of connecting knowledge to the juror and their insight in a given issue. Having formed a relationship with knowledge on a personal level, the sensitivity of a given concept was gained through life experience.

However, sometimes we cannot unify ourselves to a situation initially, because we have never experienced the situation ourselves. This is where the attribute of Binah facilitates understanding of the given issue, and takes the original idea presented and expands and develops it into understanding.

 

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Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation Part one: Knowledge

Trial Topics No Comments »

By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

 

The Kabbalah is an ancient, complex and respected Jewish study of how the universe and life work; it increases awareness and it is a way of connecting various aspects of life..[1]  In modern times, the study of Kabbalah is less esoteric, as many individuals from all backgrounds study and apply its teachings to their everyday lives. There are 10 attributes (Sephirot) characteristic to the Kabbalah, which together result in “truth.” One of these attributes, the topic for this article, is referred to as DA’AT, which translates to “knowledge.”[2]  Kabbalah is concerned with “receiving,” therefore the DA’AT component of Kabbalah means receiving knowledge.

 

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