By Amy Singer, Ph.D. and Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet
Technology has certainly made its advances in the courtroom over the past couple of years. Among other things, it provides a means for the retrieval and analysis of numerous variables crucial to a case. One pertinent variable to consider, and that the public makes readily available, is sentiment. When people express their emotions, their thoughts on the subject are affectively driven (as opposed to cognitively driven). Keep in mind that arguments and rationalizations do not work against affectively driven individuals. Emotions include anger, sympathy, frustration, shock, disgust, confusion, etc. Public sentiment analysis is critical as the results can be strategically used to effectively present your demonstrative evidence to appeal to juror emotions.
Technology allows a trial team to “data mine” before, during and after a trial. Through data mining, one can find and address the different sentiments possible within the jury pool and use that knowledge to drive the demonstrative evidence presented at trial.
New and innovative technology has taken data mining for public sentiment a step further. Until now, sentiment analysis has been up to the subjective judgment of individual attorneys, each with varying ability. Technology such as Wizpor® offers sentiment analysis capabilities that allow for identification and objective assessment of thousands of infobites. In turn, this provides the attorney with a greater range of possible sentiment, allowing her or him to prepare to tackle any issue and specifically position the perspectives they present to appeal to the various juror sentiments.
Opinions found via Wizpor® are spontaneous and more generalizable to the courtroom. Human beings feel spontaneously when presented with demonstrative evidence and trial attorneys have to be ready to accommodate that. During a Wizpor® session, jurors have no time to rehearse or restructure their comments, nor do they desire to. The phenomenon of Wizpor® is juror readiness to express their unfiltered sentiment in real time. In comparison, social media sentiment expression is contrived, in which the user has time to contemplate their message prior to posting.
It is a must to present evidence with perspective that fills completely detailed information between different sentiments within the jury. If you do not know juror sentiments, you have no way to address them in the presentation of demonstrative aids! How would your presentation of demonstrative aids be maximized if you were armed with the knowledge of the detailed sentiments represented in the jury?