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Litigation Graphics in Criminal Cases

Most of the work that a trial consulting firm like A2L does for its clients takes place in civil cases. However, criminal cases also present unique challenges for trial lawyers and for trial consultants, and some of our most fascinating cases over the years have been criminal cases.

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  by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D. Managing Director, Jury & Trial Consulting A2L Consulting It must be so hard to defend someone as unpopular as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and plead for his life, while he does everything to make it harder.  How does one lessen his involvement when he carried out so many explicit and intentional acts and has been so consistent: remorseless. He shed no tears for the 3 civilians and 1 M.I.T. police officer killed, the 264 people injured, or the countless others traumatized.  Instead, he went and got a sandwich.  When his brother was killed, did he turn himself in and say, “I didn’t want to do it; I’m so sorry; my brother made me.”? No.

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  by Ryan H. Flax (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting We strongly advocate that counsel must use a visual presentation to support his or her oral argument at trial (and anywhere they need to be persuasive). This most commonly happens during opening statements and closing arguments at trial and the dominant format for such presentations is PowerPoint – a very good tool. However, like cutting your own hair or doing your own dental work, we must again caution you that you must really know what you’re doing because your case may depend on it. On January 22, 2015, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington published its opinion in State v. Walker, overturning the State Prosecutor’s conviction of an accused murderer because the attorney went too far with his demonstrative evidence in closing. A murderer has potentially been freed because, in the Court’s view, counsel was inflammatory in his presentation and “appealed to passion and prejudice” of the jury. Certainly as zealous advocates we do want to appeal to the passion of jurors on some level. We need their emotions to be in sync with the law and evidence, but what might be too much so as to prejudice the proceedings? Let’s explore the Washington Supreme Court’s opinion to see.

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Boston, a Bomb of a Trial

  by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D. Managing Director, Jury & Trial Consulting A2L Consulting Want a change of venue? Think again. Judge O’Toole and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit turned down the defense’s attempts to change the venue. Even though Boston is where the horrifying Boston Marathon Bombing happened, that is where the jury pool will come from to judge the surviving Tsarnaev brother, Dzhokhar. Will there be enough jurors? Here, 1200 prospective jurors will complete a jury questionnaire of 100 questions to seat a jury of 12 jurors plus 6 alternates who, if left, deliberate as full jurors in federal court.

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by Laurie Kuslansky, Ph.D. Expert Jury Consultant

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by Ryan H. Flax (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting It has just been reported that prosecution counsel in the criminal trial against George Zimmerman is objecting to the defense’s use of a computer animation depicting the scene of the fatal confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. It appears the defense wants to give the jurors some perspective on the scene and, perhaps, show why Zimmerman was justified in doing what he did.

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by Laurie Kuslansky, Ph.D.

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Thomas F. Carlucci Partner Foley & Lardner LLP   John E. Turlais Senior Counsel Foley & Lardner LLP   Ryan H. Flax (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting 

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