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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97404 Find in a Library
Title: Psychology in Litigation - How to Prepare Witnesses and Select Jurors
Journal: Trial  Volume:21  Issue:3  Dated:(March 1985)  Pages:48-54,56,58
Author(s): J A Call
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses two methods for trial preparation that attorneys can use to counteract the effects of pretrial biases and extralegal information in litigation: systematic witness preparation and systematic juror analysis.
Abstract: Both methods will help make attorneys aware of the influences on jury verdicts, so they can more effectively present their clients' perceptions of the events at issue. The importance of witness credibility is emphasized, and ways that an attorney can destroy a witness' credibility are discussed. The use of systematic witness preparation is shown to be helpful in educating witnesses about credible witness demeanor, ploys cross-examining attorneys use to 'invite' a witness to move into a noncredible demeanor, and ways of regaining a credible witness demeanor. The three stages in the process of witness preparation are addressed: conceptualization training, skills-acquisition training, and transfer training. Additionally, an outline for the systematic witness preparation seminars is included. The psychology of jury deliberation and techniques used in jury selection are discussed; reasons for the ineffectiveness of voir dire are suggested. After presenting the goals of systematic juror analysis, the stages in the process are identified, including the pretrial phase, selection of mock jurors, designing the simulated trial, and measurement procedures. Such an analysis is said to enable the forensic psychologist to predict the verdict with up to 91-percent accuracy. Finally, criticisms of behavioral science techniques are presented. Five references and one illustration are included.
Index Term(s): Defense preparation; Juror characteristics; Jury selection; Psychologists role in criminal justice; Verdict prediction; Witness assistance; Witnesses
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