Home Ch: 8 - Using Multimedia in Legal Proceedings Reaction of the Jury or Factfinder
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Using Multimedia in Legal Proceedings

Reaction of the Jury or Factfinder
Will oral advocacy alone bore Generation X jurors? This question was raised in the ABA article Generation X Jurors, a Challenge. The X generation is those people born between 1961 to 1981, and will account for 4 out of 10 Americans by the year 2000. Baby Boomers, those born between 1943 to 1960, and Generation Xer’s results were similar as to those who own, use or access electronic machines such as VCR’s, personal computers and so forth. However, seniors (those born before 1943) results were significantly lower in ownership, access or use of electronic machines. The popularity of information sources for these three groups is significant. The seniors were very dependent upon newspapers for their information - 79% and decreasing to 60% for Baby Boomers and down to 52% for Xers. Though not asked, one can only assume that Xers are receiving almost half of their information from TV, which is significant for the type of presentation one makes to this group. Is it not reasonable that they would give greater credibility to evidence that was presented using TV monitors? Generation X Jurors a Challenge, ABA Journal, October 1995.

The question is frequently posed that if you use technology in the courtroom, especially while representing a well-heeled client, will a negative reaction result from the judge or the trier of fact?

Our society, including the judges and juries, is exposed to an onslaught of technology in their lives. It is nearly impossible to go through a day without hearing or seeing information about the Internet, computers, Windows 95/98/00Ô, Microsoft, or other technology. Our kids, relatives, and other people we come in contact with are being challenged to utilize technology in their businesses, schools, and for home use. It is estimated that in the year 1998 alone, 30,000,000 computers will be sold. An amazing 1/2 of those will be purchased for home use. Judges and juries are part of this society and generally are not intimidated by the use of technology.

In fact, a positive reaction from the use of computers can result if the court and the trier of fact are shown the benefits of using technology. Many trial practitioners attest to the efficiency and time savings of using technology to provide accurate and immediate legal and case information and the capability of focusing the fact finder’s attention during the proceedings. For example, if one uses the computer to present their case through the use of monitors and it saves a day of trial per week, the trier of fact will react favorably toward you. This would be especially true if the opposing party is given the opportunity to use the more efficient technology for no or little cost, and declines to do so. Then, the trier of fact will have a negative reaction toward the party who wastes their time by continuing to use the paper presentation method.

The effect of the well-heeled client’s use of technology in the courtroom will be the same as their high end use of some of the best attorneys, demonstrative evidence, animations and other tools in trial. If your client, because of his or her economic status, is perceived as taking advantage of a less fortunate opponent, then the use of technology or other tools in the courtroom will have a negative effect upon your client.


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