Real Rules of Exhibits
Most lawyers don’t know how to use exhibits
effectively to persuade the jury. So we have started a series of the
practical rules of using your exhibits. You might call them The
Persuader’s Real Rules of Exhibits.
The first article in this series sets out the
Persuader's Real Rules of Exhibits " 1 through 4 - the use of exhibits during
your opening statement to the jury.
This is the second article in the series. It deals with the
showing your exhibits in an effective way during a trial; so that the jurors'
long-term memory holds your exhibit.
Rule No 5: Respect the limits of the prefrontal cortex and short-term
This rule could be phrased as: “(A) Eight second show; (B) Simplify to seven
characteristics; and (C) Rehearse it by sound or sight.” In concrete terms, here
is what this rule is:
A. Exhibit the exhibit to the jurors’ senses, for at least eight (8) full
B. Simplify an important exhibit so there are only seven
“characteristics” for the short term memory to hold in mind. For example,
for the juror’s short-term memory to hold remember that the exhibit is a
contract page with a clause that says the ABC company will deliver 600
widgets by June 4, 2007, the mind has to remember at least seven
“characteristics.“ That is, the juror’s mind has to be able to pull out of
memory that your exhibit is (characteristic #1) a piece of letter sized
paper. (#2) That piece of pager is one page of a contract between the ABC
Company and XYZ Cleaning Inc. (#3) That there is an important sentence on
that page that says “(#4) that ABC Company (#5) will deliver 600 widgets
(#6) on June 4, 2007.”
C. As quickly as possible after showing the exhibit, give the jurors a
sensory break to give their minds the needed time to rehearse the critical
information. E.g., Say, now Mr. Witness, so the printed record of what we
are looking at is clear, I want you to read aloud the sentence I have
highlighted in yellow on this exhibit. Then I’ll ask you some questions
about that specific sentence.” [Witness then states it, which allows the
jurors’ minds to rehearse the total exhibit.]
It is no good showing or reading an exhibit to the jury if as a matter of
neurological science their brains are not going to recall it easily in the jury
room. Therefore you need to know .
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