Posted on August 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

Jury consultant Dennis Elias (@JuryVox) twitted:

At opening statement you have no standing with the jury. Don't tell them what the evidence will show; story them the evidence.

Break that down into a rule (tell the jury the story of the evidence) and a reason (because you have no standing with the jury).

The reason is not necessarily true. If you're lucky, in any particular case it'll be dead wrong; by the time of opening statement, you will have standing with the jury because you will have formed a group with them.

But the rule (if you disregard the disturbing verbing of the noun "story") is still a good one.

The test of a good rule is not whether it is always right (rules seldom are) but whether it is right more often than the alternative-which could be another rule or no rule at all. I hope you'll read my Simple Rules for Better Jury Selection in that spirit.

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