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Runaway Jury - Movie Review Example

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I chose the movie Runaway Jury to demonstrate how public perception of the legal profession could be affected by movies. This movie was based on a book by John Grisham and the plot revolves around the jury trial of a major gun manufacturer. A lawsuit has been brought against the firm by the widow of a man killed by a gunshot in his place of work…
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Runaway Jury
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Download file to see previous pages These individuals conduct a selection of jury-centered research programs designed to gather opinions, value-beliefs, and terminology that must be addressed during litigation. To do so they are not above using "reverse engineering" to assure the desired outcome. (Jury Research DOAR) The process is one used in trials, frequently high profile ones. The idea is to choose a jury that favors your party in the litigation. While it is illegal to tamper with a jury, the process of jury selection is designed (supposedly) to provide both sides a fair and equal decision and to deny some jurors the right to serve on a jury based on bias.
Reverse engineering takes this a step or two further. In the initial process prospective jurors are investigated, and decisions made as to which would most likely give a favorable verdict. Included in that analysis is an evaluation as to which jurors the other party might reject. From there the trial is "engineered" still more. Witnesses are interviewed and their answers to anticipated question are rehearsed until they become rote. Even emotional responses are practiced until the testimony becomes almost an act, as opposed to an honest and open response to questions. This is legal. It's also more likely to be seen on the side of a case that has more money to begin with, because this type of consulting is not cheap. Public defenders and district attorney offices are unlikely to have either the manpower or the money to utilize jury consultants to a widespread degree.
Jury consulting is real, and a lucrative practice in conjunction with the practice of law. Consulting came into its own during the O.J. Simpson trial, when a consultant named Jo-Ellan Dimitrius picked the jury that found him not guilty. (Roberts) What does she do In her own words, "I almost act as a 13th juror I hear a case for the first time. I wanna know what the good is. I wanna know what the bad is, so that we can figure out a way to desensitize or neutralize the negative components." (Roberts) And her resume states:
Dr. Dimitrius has not just conducted pre-trail research and picked juries, she has advised many Fortune 100 companies about how regular people - like those who would be on their juries - would respond to their witnesses, claims and defenses. She has addressed the credibility, motivation and general appearance of hundreds of witnesses. She has worked with hundreds of other witnesses - including actors, lawyers, CEO's and people from almost every walk of life - - to help prepare them for trial. (Dimitrius)
And she is successful, very successful! As it states in her resume "Dr. Dimitrius has amassed an unparalleled track record in civil and criminal cases, including the selection of the jury which recently awarded $80 million to her client Frances Ford Coppola, in his lawsuit against Warner Bros., and just weeks later, picking the jury which awarded $223,400,000 in damages to her client in the Piscitelli v. Friedenberg, et al. case." (Dimitrius) The movie Runaway Jury does take this process of engineering to an extreme, and Hackman bends and even breaks the law at some points in an effort to achieve the desired outcome. He uses all the technology available to monitor possible jurors and expose their weaknesses, which he then exploits as the trial progresses. At the other end of the spectrum in this movie is the idealistic and honest attorney representing the plaintiff who is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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