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March 20, 2007

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Eh Nonymous

Biggest problem with the (probably simplified) methodology described:

Consultants "call up random people," ask them questions about their age/race/job/whatever, and THEN ask them substantive questions about the case.

Well, if that's what they're doing, they're idiots. First, you ask the question without priming them to answer "as a middle-class American," or "as a man," or "as a transgendered person," or "as a social worker." You find out what their actual predisposition is. Then you look for patterns - but if you do it carelessly, you'll wind up pushing preferences.

I can imagine a phone call:

Ma'am? Hello, I'd like to ask you a few questions.
Are you married?
Do you have kids?
Do you supervise them yourself, or do you have help?
Do you worry for their safety?
Now, having established that you're a concerned parent, what would you say in the following attractive nuisance case...

etc.

Tom Henry

For better or worse, the wares of the trial consultant are now within the reach of many who previously deemed them too expensive. A good overview of how jury consultants work and what they're looking for in jurors. They conclude with sensible and far-reaching proposals for change. Thanks for posting it I learned from it.

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