Edward P. Schwartz Strategic litigation support for jury trials, civil and criminal  

Welcome to The Jury Box. This newsletter is designed to provide attorneys with useful information and commentary on jury-related issues. In addition, we will use The Jury Box to update you on jury issues in the news, including those that emerge from recent high profile trials. We will archive the newsletter on this page, so you can always access this information at your convenience. Is there an issue that you would like us to cover in The Jury Box? Just give us a call, drop us an e-mail, or submit a request on our website with your ideas. We are committed to making this publication maximally responsive to the needs of our clients. As Jerry McGuire would say, “Help me to help you!”
-Edward P. Schwartz

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August, 2008 - Crazy Eddie! He's practically giving it away!
The Pro Bon Committee of the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC) has been making a big push lately to educate attorneys about the availability of pro bono trial consulting services for indigent litigants. In this edition of the Jury Box, I review the exciting efforts underway in the Dallas and Los Angeles areas and discuss plans to get going in New England. In addition, I review some implications of the recent Massachusetts SJC decision, authorizing "loss of chance" arguments in medical malpractice cases.
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January 2008 -- The New Year brings new technology.
Are online mock trials right for you? There now exist several well-designed online mock trial programs. They claim that they'll save you a ton of money. But will they really? That depends on what you want them to do for you. I review their capabilities, strengths, weaknesses and real cost savings. The bottom line is that they can help you learn certain things about your case if you really know what you're doing (or hire someone who does).
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October 2007 - Spooky Juror Tricks and Treats!
In this issue, I point out some of the issues associated with jurors blogging. What can and should lawyers do to find out about the online alter-egos of members of the jury pool? I also review a study that suggests that "sorry" should be the easiest word -- regardless of whether you mean it! Finally, I offer up a few new tidbits in our series on jurors behaving badly -- Phil Spector alert!

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July 2007
In this issue, I review a couple of studies that were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Trial Consultants. One debunks the myth that per diem arguments drive up damage awards. The other investigates how jurors respond to defendant apologies at trial.
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April 2007 — In Their Own Words
In this issue, I review interviews with jurors from some recent high profile cases. What do jurors say influenced their decisions? How did they go about organizing their deliberations? Did they behave in ways that the experimental research would predict? What can litigators learn from juror reaction to these important cases?
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January 2007 — Legal Climate Change (Should we blame Linda Greenhouse?)
In this issue, I discuss some theories about the “vanishing jury trial.” Are jury trials too unpredictable? Has settlement become that much easier? What role is played by the booming ADR industry? On the criminal side of the ledger, I address the puzzle of incredibly high acquittal rates for federal judges. It makes you wonder why anyone asks for a jury trial any more.
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November 2006. Who says midterm elections can’t be fun?

There are a number of interesting ballot initiatives regarding the jury system in several states this year. A few let juries decide what the government has to pay you for your house. One lets you sue the judge who ruled against you before a jury of your neighbors. In this issue, I review several of the jury-related items people get to vote on this election season.
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September 2006. Are you ready for some football?

In this issue, I walk you through my extensive playbook of consulting strategy. I offer a brief primer of my services, outlining when to contact me and how long it takes to complete various research tasks. I want to make sure that you always call the right play at the right time!
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It’s time for Summer School! July, 2006

In this issue of The Jury Box, I review a collection of interesting recent studies of jury behavior. In doing so, we revisit the topics of thunder-stealing, expert witness selection and the deliberations of non-unanimous juries. I highlight the internal and external validity of each study.
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May 2006: The Jury Box goes Digital

While The Jury Box has always been archived digitally on our website, this marks the beginning of our e-mail delivery service, for those who prefer to receive The Jury Box in their inboxes. Edward P. Schwartz reviews a number of excellent uses for focus groups, a staple of pre-trial preparation. He also argues that individualized voir dire might have prevented or mitigated a number of sticky situations, where jurors failed to reveal their criminal records during jury selection.

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The Jury Box, March, 2006

In this issue, Edward P. Schwartz explores the importance of local juries, even in our modern, global, high speed society. He uses a “hypothetical” case about a government official “accidentally” shooting his friend and hunting companion in the face as motivation for a discussion of this topic. He also reviews a recent Oregon case which seems to be a direct challenge to the punitive damages holding in State Farm.
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The Jury Box: The Next Generation January, 2006

Happy New Year and welcome to year two of The Jury Box. In this issue, I review some of the issues associated with getting prospective jurors to give truthful, complete and useful answers during voir dire. I discuss some of the advantages of supplemental juror questionnaires. I also highlight some lessons to be learned from the first few Vioxx trials.
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Season of Gluttony Issue — November, 2005

Doth mine eyes deceive me? Well, if I am a juror, they just might. In this issue, I recount some strange jury behavior that has been observed in the courtroom. I also discuss how jurors trust their powers of observation more than they should. People are much worse than they think at detecting when they are being lied to. Facial cues are bad indicators of lying, and yet we often rely on them. Eyewitnesses also overestimate the accuracy of their observations and jurors usually believe them. I discuss what lawyers can do about these issues at trial. Also, Chief Justice Roberts gets his first jury case.
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Judicial Vacancy Issue — September, 2005

In this issue, I discuss what can be done when impermissible information is revealed to the jury. Most limiting instructions are ineffective, but they can work when a logical explanation can be given to the jury. I also discuss the value of continuances and changes of venue. Finally, I review the recent debate over the representativeness of the jury pools for the federal district for Eastern Massachusetts.
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Independence Issue -- July 2005

In this issue, I discuss how juries employ an “anchor and adjust” approach to calculating damage awards. Despite any apprehension, defense attorneys should utilize this information and offer the jury a “counter-anchor” when possible. I also review some of the issues that emerged at the annual meeting of the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC), including the patenting of mock trial techniques.
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May Flowers Issue -- May 2005

In this issue, I discuss a few ways in which game theory, decision theory and social choice theory can be applied to strategic litigation choices for jury trials. I also review the results of a recent New York State study of jury trial innovations, including pre-instructing the jury on the law, allowing jurors to take notes and even letting them submit questions to witnesses.
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Spring Training Issue – March, 2005

In this issue, we review the various difficulties experienced by jurors trying to evaluate risk. We cover hindsight bias, as well as the difficulties of presenting cost-benefit analyses to juries. In addition, we review the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that capital punishment for minors is unconstitutional. Finally, Dr. Schwartz offers his thoughts on the recently ratified American Bar Association “Principles for Juries and Jury Trials.”
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Inaugural Issue -- January, 2005

In this inaugural issue, we discuss how to select, prepare and examine an expert witness, depending on the contours of your case. In addition, we review a recent U.S. District Court ruling, stemming from a Boston homicide, that separate juries are required to convict and sentence a capital defendant. Finally, we examine the new California "plain English" civil jury instructions.  
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