Using Technology to Meet Jurors’ Expectations


Recently, we tried a month long cross-border dispute where all but a handful of witnesses appeared through video testimony. We wanted these presentations to be of such high quality that the differences between a live and videotaped presentation would be minimal. To achieve this result, the parties agreed (with the federal judge’s approval) to create a fairly elaborate, technologically advanced courtroom. It was a success inasmuch as it truly allowed the parties to present the evidence in a way that was a close second to having live witnesses. This experience made us think that lawyers may not be doing enough to leverage the possibilities that technology offers today for presenting unavailable witnesses.

What a difference a few years make. Many of us can remember back to the days when the court’s clerk rolled out a 26-inch television set (and not a flat screen) hooked to a VCR for presentation of an unavailable witness at trial. Can you ever forget how anxious you felt seeing the juror’s eyes glaze over because of the extraordinarily dreadful production quality? The sound was almost unintelligible, and the image was small, poorly lit, and out of focus. The witness’s credibility (or lack thereof) was at issue, and the jurors could not judge anything. All of your trial team’s hard work putting together the best case could fall apart because of this substandard presentation.

This article outlines the changing expectations juries have concerning video testimony and how to meet those expectations. To read the full article, click on the PDF linked below.

As published in Verdict, The Journal of the Trial Practice Committee, American Bar Association, Vol. 25, No. 1, Winter 2011. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

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