Search

Loading

Join 4,400 Subscribers and Get Notified of New Articles Every Week

Your email:

Free Webinar - Integrating Expert Evidence & Winning Arguments - May 6, 2014. Register now, watch live or later.

a2l iss scientific evidence webinar side

Watch Now: Using PowerPoint Litigation Graphics to Win - Webinar

using powerpoint litigation graphics

Free Litigation Webinars - Watch Now

Nationally Acclaimed - Voted #1 Jury Research Firm and #1 Demonstrative Evidence Firm in the U.S.

voted best demonstrative evidence consultants

A2L best demonstrative trial graphics consultants
best demonstrative evidence litigation graphics consultants

Download the (Free) Storytelling for Litigators E-Book

describe the image

Featured Free Download: The Complex Civil Litigation Trial Guide

a2l consultants complex civil litigation trial guide download

Considering Using a Trial Technician at Your Next Trial? Download this first.

trial technicians trial technology atlanta houston new york boston virginia

Featured Free Download: Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy

using science to win at trial litigation jury

Featured FREE A2L E-Book: Using Litigation Graphics Persuasively

using litigation graphics trial graphics trial presentation consultants

Free Jury Consulting & Trial Consulting Guidebook for Litigators

jury consulting trial consultants guide

Featured E-Book: The Patent Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Trial Preparation

patent litigation ebook 3rd edition

Timelines Appear In Most Trials - Learn how to get the most out of using trial timelines in this ebook

trial timelines graphics consultants litigators

Featured Complimentary eBook - The 100-page Antitrust Litigation Guide

antitrust ebook a2l litigation consultants

Featured Complimentary eBook - Leadership Lessons for Litigators and Litigation Support

leadership lessons litigation law firms litigation support

Featured E-Book: The Environmental Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Prep

environmental litigation trial presentation trial prep ebook a2l

Authors

KenLopez resized 152

Ken Lopez founded A2L Consulting in 1995. The firm has since worked with litigators from all major law firms on more than 10,000 cases with over $2 trillion cumulatively at stake.  The A2L team is comprised of psychologists, jury consultants, trial consultants, litigation consultants, attorneys and information designers who provide jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.  Ken Lopez can be reached at lopez@A2LC.com.


ryanflax blog litigation consultant 

Ryan H. Flax, Esq., Managing Director, Litigation Consulting, joined A2L Consulting on the heels of practicing Intellectual Property (IP) law as part of the Intellectual Property team at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, a national law firm based in Washington, DC.  Over the course of his career, Ryan has obtained jury verdicts totaling well over $1 billion in damages on behalf of his clients and has helped clients navigate the turbulent waters of their competitors’ patents.  Ryan can be reached at flax@a2lc.com.


dr laurie kuslansky jury consultant a2l consulting
Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D, Managing Director, Trial & Jury Consulting, has conducted over 400 mock trials in more than 1,000 litigation engagements over the past 20 years. Dr. Kuslansky's goal is to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible whether one's need involves a mock trial, witness preparation, jury selection or a mock exercise not involving a jury. Dr. Kuslansky can be reached at kuslansky@A2LC.com.

Posts by Category

Follow A2L Consulting

Member Red Well Blog
ABA Blawg 100 2013 7th annual

A2L Featured Letter of Recommendation

Follow Us on Google+

The Litigation Consulting Report

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Don’t Get Too Cute With Your Trial Graphics

 


trial graphics cost a2l litigation consultantsby Ryan H. Flax
Managing Director, Litigation Consulting
A2L Consulting

You must use trial graphics and other demonstrative evidence to be as persuasive as possible and win at trial. But, if you use trial graphics incorrectly, you risk losing everything. Take the recent trial scenario that played out in Orange County, California as an example and a warning.

In The People v. Otero, a criminal prosecution over a sexual assault on a child, in her closing arguments, the prosecutor began to discuss the burden of proof – as we all know, in criminal cases it’s beyond a reasonable doubt. The question is, what does that really mean. The prosecutor wanted to make the point that the burden does not require absolute knowledge – not every fact must be supplied and not every fact supplied need be perfectly accurate to satisfy this burden.

However, the prosecutor took it one step too far.

She used a trial graphic to demonstrate her point. It was similar to a combination of the graphics I’ve supplied above and below. Instead of showing an incomplete puzzle, it showed the state of California, without an identifying label and with some incorrect city locations and names. She began explaining that she wanted to identify the name of a state that looked like the one in the image (the trial was in California, by the way) and even though there was some incorrect or incomplete information, she knew the state was California. Well, the defense jumped right up and objected to that trial graphic.

trial graphics california litigation consultantsThe court sustained the objection and instructed the trial graphic be taken down and not referred to again. Then the judge instructed the jury to disregard the trial graphic and the discussion thereof. The trial and closing arguments continued and ultimately, the jury found the defendant guilty. 

On appeal, the defense argued that the prosecutor’s little stunt with the map of California amounted to misconduct warranting reversal of the conviction. The Court of Appeal agreed that the trial graphic and argument was misconduct, but that it was harmless because it was taken down so quickly and because the strong evidence for conviction in the case.

The court explained the problem: the prosecutor was misstating the law relating to its burden of proof. The beyond a reasonable doubt burden is not quantitative – it’s not based on a certain number of puzzle pieces of evidence fitting together. So, it’s misconduct for the attorney to present it that way.  It’s misconduct to tell the jury that if they have “X” number of puzzle pieces they should convict. So, although its always very tempting to make a graphic like this because the subject matter simply lends itself to visuals, you need to take a step back and decide just how to make this point visually and appropriately.

I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that the prosecutor’s path to this misconduct went something like this: “Hey, I’ve got a great idea!” And, if the law didn’t matter, she certainly did have a good idea. Make your case using trial graphics. Explain to the jurors that it’s okay to convict this guy even though you don’t feel 100% positive of his guilt (he admitted to the crime by the way). What this attorney was missing was someone by her side to say, “hold on a minute, you can’t do that” or “let’s rethink this before committing to this strategy.” 

litigation consultants trial graphics guideThis is where a litigation consultant is invaluable. No matter how many trials you’ve been through as an attorney, we’ve seen more as consultants (we’re attorneys, too, by the way). Our specialty is how to get your “persuasion on” and how to do it the right way. A good litigation consultant is someone to bounce these ideas off of and work through the way to graphically make your case and how to stay inside the lines.

 


Other resources related to trial graphics on the A2L Consulting site:



describe the image

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


Comments

Currently, there are no comments. Be the first to post one!
Post Comment
Name
 *
Email
 *
Website (optional)
Comment
 *

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics