Monday, April 30, 2007

Demonstrative Evidence
Overcomes Juror Boredom

Novice jurors have high expectations of their role in the legal process. Regrettably, they may discover that they are bored by their courtroom experience.

  • Bored with courtroom proceedings. Jurors may feel that "the necessary tedium of building a case [is] boring and irrelevant." (Tsongas and Monson)
  • Bored with attorneys. Ronald Arden, a lawyers’ coach says, "Jurors come into the courtroom expecting Perry Mason." Unfortunately, some feel like “they're getting Mickey Mouse." (Reed)
  • Bored with evidence. "An expert whose testimony at trial consists of… complex, technical jargon and analysis more than likely will confuse, bore, and eventually alienate the jury…" (Groth)

Demonstrative evidence overcomes juror boredom by engaging the juror’s interest through effective and efficient learning.

The role of the juror as strictly a passive listener is uncomfortable, boring, and frustrating for some individuals…. The ideal solution to relieving juror stress during these cases is to make the trials more interesting…. Using demonstrative evidence such as charts, graphs, and video technology also can communicate a great deal of information in an effective and efficient manner… (National Center for State Courts)

The use of interesting visual aids during every portion of their experience will keep jurors engaged in the process. The courts could begin by show­ing videos about the legal system while jurors are waiting to be called into a court. Visual aids could be used to explain complex definitions during jury selection. Attorneys could use demonstrative evidence during their opening in order to orient the jurors to the nature of the trial and then continue to use the visual aids to summarize and explain the facts. Expert wit­nesses could use demonstrative evidence to illustrate, de­monstrate, or elaborate their testimony.

The intensive use of visual aids will focus jurors’ attention and prevent them from becoming bored.

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