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When the prosecutor’s case does not fit the jurors’ script

Oct 05, 2009 When the prosecutor’s case does not fit the jurors’ script

Photo from website of U.S. District Court (W.D. Mi.).

Jurors give scripts to themes, e.g. armed robbery. If prosecution evidence does not fit with the jurors’ scripts — for instance, if the armed robbery defendant looks like a computer nerd who would not and could not even rob a fly –the defendant can benefit.

Trial consultant Joe Guastaferro addresses trial themes as follows: "Jurors must first make sense of a case before they can be persuaded. Legal issues and emotional themes must be interwoven throughout the case in a way that unifies all the elements of it for the jury. Joe Guastaferro identifies and isolates the themes the jury will understand and that will move them. The themes that emerge are integrated into the personal story about the client’s cause that you present to the jury."

I know Joe from the National Criminal Defense College and the Trial Lawyers College. My other favorite non-lawyer jury trial consultants are psychodramatist Don Clarkson, with whom I have prepared numerous trials for a decade, and acting teacher Josh Karton, whom I met at the Trial Lawyers College.

Jon Katz.

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