Considered the most infamous jury decision to be handed down in Los Angeles, the O.J. Simpson “not-guilty” verdict sent shock waves beyond the California city. Post-trial admissions by jurors prove just how convoluted the case was.
“The evidence didn’t prove it,” juror David Aldana told ABC News. But he added that there’s a chance Simpson killed both his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Could either the prosecution or defense have predicted this outcome? That depends. Today’s jury selection process is no longer an art, but a science. So, did the Simpson prosecution fail to apply due diligence when saying yes to jurors on the advice of consultants? We’ll never know!
The science of jury selection
The science of jury selection Los Angeles CA extends far beyond the land of oranges and Kardashians. “Psychology Today” magazine writer Matthew Hutson took a close look at the practice of employing scientific jury professionals nearly a decade ago, using the Modesto, California murder case verdict that judged Scott Peterson guilty in 2004.
Describing how defense and prosecution viewed each potential juror proved enlightening. The search for bias took three weeks in the Peterson case. In the end, candidates considered unlikely to be seated by ordinary observers wound up on the jury.
A not-so-new specialty
For both prosecutors and defense attorneys, scientific jury selection methodology may not be 100-percent, but the edge it gives either side can’t be refuted. Using social psychology, behavioral anthropology and sociology—supported by statistical analysis—jury selection professionals know their stuff.
In fact, “voir dire” can be an intuitive consultant’s conduit to understanding every personality trait exhibited by jury pool candidates. Exquisitely refined since 1972 when Harrisburg, Pennsylvania indicted Vietnam War protestors on conspiracy charges, tools used to probe the minds of potential jurors have grown exponentially.
Today’s jury selection expert is versed in everything from body language and facial signals to unearthing biases so deeply buried, even a potential juror may not know that she has them.
It’s all about expertise
We live in a day and age of too much information. This tends to give people a license for abuse, presenting themselves experts when all they’ve got is a degree. The art and science of jury selection is too critical to place so important a responsibility in the hands of someone brandishing only a psychology degree. Knowing the law is critical.
Properly-trained jury consultants do more than assess individual personalities. They also consider how individual personalities change and mesh when in the company of others. We don’t have to tell you that the way people behave when they’re alone–not part of a herd–is dramatically different, right?
An investment you can’t afford to ignore
Hiring the right scientific jury consultant is no longer a luxury for the rich and famous. Jury pools are savvier than ever–and perhaps more skeptical and cynical. Trial attorneys know that their odds improve when the right consultant is hired, because outcomes no longer impact just clients. They extend to a firm’s reputation as well.
Like a good tennis match, opposing sides seek every advantage, but it’s the competitor who hires the top tennis coach who’s more likely to win. Remember that next time you can’t decide whether or not to hire a scientific jury expert for your important cases.