Stack and Sway: The New Science of Jury Consulting

Stack and Sway: The New Science of Jury Consulting

by Neil Kressel, Dorit F. Kressel
     
 

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A new -- and largely hidden -- profession has emerged during the past three decades. Drawing on the techniques of modern social science, psychology, and market research, its practitioners seek to remake the way we pursue justice in the United States. Trial consultants help lawyers to pick -- some would say, stack -- juries predisposed to render the "right" verdict.

Overview

A new -- and largely hidden -- profession has emerged during the past three decades. Drawing on the techniques of modern social science, psychology, and market research, its practitioners seek to remake the way we pursue justice in the United States. Trial consultants help lawyers to pick -- some would say, stack -- juries predisposed to render the "right" verdict. And consultants apply sophisticated research methods to figure out the best strategies for swaying the panel. What are we to make of this new and steadily growing industry? Do the techniques work? Is this, as some critics have argued, a new form of high-tech jury-rigging, not much more acceptable than cruder forms of jury tampering? Or do the methods of jury consultants amount to little more than an extension of what attorneys have always done? This book will reveal the "tricks of the trade" and explore the many ways in which trial consultants have infiltrated the courtroom. The authors' purpose is not to launch an all-out attack on this growing industry, but rather to pull back the curtains, allowing a fair and balanced assessment of a new phenomenon in American justice, offering sensible and far-reaching proposals for change.

Editorial Reviews

Economist
The lesson of [this]...fine book...is that, like democracy, in its own messy way, the jury somehow works.
Dick Wolf
Anyone who is involved with...trials by jury...must read Stack and Sway.
Martha Coakley
If you try cases,you should read this book.
Walter Olson
Wide-ranging,carefully researched,well-written and very timely.
Reid Hastie
A delightful rarity: . . . an intrinsically interesting topic, levelheaded scholarship,and a socially important issue.
Neil Vidmar
This is a book that needed to be written.
Library Journal
Neil Kressel (psychology, William Patterson Univ. of New Jersey) and attorney Dorit Kressel provide a well-researched, lucid, and fascinating look at the business of jury consulting. They demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, there is no proof that the use of jury consulting works to pick the ideal jury. However, consultants can buy time for the defense in criminal cases and permit a litigant to present a version of the truth that has jury appeal. The authors conclude that peremptory (no cause) strikes of jurors should be abolished but that challenges of jurors for stated cause should be expanded and non-unanimous verdicts allowed in criminal cases. They would prefer that scientific jury consultants did not exist but are realistic about their continued use. This book benefits greatly from the authors' interviews with leading consultants, judges, and attorneys and also details the use of jury consultants in high-profile trials, including the Louise Woodward "British au pair trial" in Boston in 1998. Rather than scorn the jury system, as William Pizzi does in Trials Without Truth (LJ 1/15/99), they uphold the system while suggesting improvements. Recommended for general collections. Harry Charles, Attorney at Law, St. Louis Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813397726
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
10/05/2001
Pages:
301
Product dimensions:
6.23(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.92(d)
Lexile:
1470L (what's this?)

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What People are saying about this

Sam Williamson
The Kressels do an outstanding job of showing that what lawyers think are strong arguments are not necessarily what jurors will think are strong arguments, and that lawyers have the wrong idea about jury preferences with distressing frequency. ...Stack and Sway is most useful for non-lawyer readers who are frustrated with what they perceive as a 'rigged' court system...[Also], lawyers who have enough funds to pay for some consulting, but not the full 'deluxe' package, would do well to read this book, which provides useful insights into the areas in which consultants provide the most valuable assistance, and those in which they are dispensable.
— Sam Williamson, Writ: Findlaw's Legal Commentary
Reid Hastie
Stack and Sway: The New Science of Jury Consulting is a delightful rarity ....an intrinsically interesting topic, levelheaded scholarship, and a socially important issue. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the American jury system.
— Reid Hastie, Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago.
Walter Olson
Wide-ranging, carefully researched, well-written and very timely: agree or disagree with its conclusions, this book could scarcely be improved on as an overview of what jury consultants do and why their role in trials has come to be so controversial.
— Walter Olson, Center for Legal Policy, Manhattan Institute.
Neil Vidmar
This is a book that needed to be written...Kressel and Kressel cut through the puffery and myth surrounding trial consulting and fairly and competently evaluate what jury consultants can and cannot do. They candidly discuss the ethical issues in the trial consulting business, consultants' potential effects on the fairness of trials, and the implications of trial consulting for the jury's place in democratic theory.
— Neil Vidmar, Ph.D., Russell M. Robinson II Professor of Law and Psychology, Duke University.
Dorothy Samuels
Readers interested in a carefully researched examination of this influential but largely hidden growth profession will find it in Stack and Sway... [T]his surprisingly engaging book provides an even-handed accounting of the methods and madness of this relatively new phenomenon, and possible implications for American justice. Best of all, it manages to do so without being preachy or simplistic. Indeed, the book's real fun lies in the Kressels' admirable habit of presenting from opposing angles the various issues raised by the panoply of services which jury consultants so enthusiastically provide.
— New York Times editorial board member Dorothy Samuels in The Washington Monthly
Martha Coakley
Regardless of what you think about jury consultants - love 'em, hate 'em, or just indifferent, If you try Cases, you should read this book. You may well change your mind! A comprehensive look at a lesser-known aspect of litigation.
— Martha Coakley, District Attorney, Middlesex County Massachusetts. Co-Prosecutor, Massachusetts v. Woodward, the British Nanny case
Dick Wolf
Anyone who is involved with, or interested in, trials by jury, either civil or criminal, must read Stack and Sway. Neil and Dorit Kressel not only explain the hidden power of jury consultants, they raise troubling issues about the very nature of the jury system itself.
— Dick Wolf, Creator and Executive Producer, Law and Order

Meet the Author


Neil J. Kressel, Ph.D., a social psychologist at William Paterson University of New Jersey, has taught at Harvard, New York University, and elsewhere. He is also the author of Mass Hate: The Global Rise of Genocide and Terror (Westview Press).

Dorit F. Kressel, J.D., is a practicing attorney in New Jersey. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Kressel served as a law clerk to the New Jersey Supreme Court.The authors reside in Wayne, New Jersey with their children, Sam and Hannah.

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