Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Over-confident Witness Can Turn Off A Jury

Jury prep is a difficult "science." There is a tendency on both the part of the witness and the lawyer to want to come away as competent and all knowing. I have always worried about presenting witnesses who were too well trained. To that end, I have also worried about the witness who over equivocates. "I think"; "it seems as though"; " I believe"; "maybe" are all answers that to the attorney appear to be weak and not "selling" the theory of the case, well enough.

Now there is a new study out that verifies my suspicions. According to a new study at Cal Berkely an over confident witness who makes mistake on the stand is far more likely to anger a jury than one who seems unsure of himself.
The article is here.

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Best Dog Videos said...

My father taught me long ago that a witness should be likeable to the jury. Overconfidence comes across as a "better than you" attitude. That is why juries are turned off by this type of witness and why mistakes anger them.

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mark said...

That makes sense... If you act like a know-it-all at any job and then when one of the subjects you seemed to know-it-all about goes awry, then people will be angry...

I think it is even more true with the witness and jury, because the jury members are mad they are there in the first place!!