PSC 153 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: William Kennedy Smith, Harrisburg Seven, Death Of Caylee Anthony

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26 Dec 2019
Introduction to Trial Consulting
Harrisburg Seven Trial - 1972
American Society of Trial Consultants - 1982
More high profile trials
William Kennedy Smith - 1991
McDonald’s Hot Coffee - 1994
O.J. Simpson - 1995
Casey Anthony - 2011
George Zimmerman - 2012
Who are Trial Consultants?
Lawyers are experts in the law
Trial consultants are experts in understanding/ researching human behavior &
trial dynamics
Non-testifying expert consultants
Unlike testifying experts, work is not discoverable
Variety of backgrounds, including
Graphic arts
Political science
* trial consultants do NOT have any formal accreditation
Usually lawyers hire trial consultants
Overview of the field
Practices range from small shops to large firms
Trial consultant practices tend to be small firms
Retained by trial counsel-adversarial
Work for client, NOT impartial
American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC)
Trial Consulting Services
Venue Analysis
Case Analysis & Strategy
Mock Trials/ Focus Groups
Juror Profiles
Supplemental Juror Questionnaires
Witness Preparation
Graphics Creation/ Exhibits Consultation
Jury Selection
Openings/ Closings
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Courtroom Observation
Shadow Juries
Post-Trial Interviews
Venue Analysis
Publicity analysis
Review print & electronic media coverage
Identify common themes & potentially biasing info
Venue demographics
Size & heterogeneity of community is relevant
Community attitude survey
Survey them on attitudes relevant to the case
Can be good to get an idea of what kind of jury will be present
during the trial
Can also go to judge if you believe jury will be biased toward case
*** demographics do NOT predict as well as surveying attitudes
Goal of research may be to inform trial team about likely jury pool or inform
where to initially file case or petition for a Change of Venue
Case analysis & strategy
Review case materials
Identify jury issues vs. legal issues
“See the forest through the trees” (and vice versa)
Trial consultants can give advice to lawyers
Ex: emphasize certain topics or encourage lawyer to step back &
look at the broader picture
Sometimes lawyers spend years on a case, so it’s good to
provide outside advice
Outline areas of potential bias
Initial perceptions
Suggest persuasive themes
story/ narrative development
Determine needed visuals
Pre-Trial Research ( any research done before trial)
Community attitude surveys & venue analysis
Focus groups
Mock trials
More structured
Jurors in mock trial need to be representative of those who will be in the
actual / real trial
Mock trials are informative, but not predictive
Focus groups & mock trials are a major practice area
Juror profiles
Examine a sample of jury eligible population (likely using mock trials or focus
Use qualitative & quantitative data analysis to create ideal/ non-ideal juror profile
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