September 01, 2016

Claude Monet and the Theory of Your Case

Can juror impressions change during the shared journey of a trial?

Michael E. Tigar

Note from the Editor: This is the first of four essays by Michael E. Tigar, former Section chair and author of—among other works—Fighting Injustice, Persuasion: The Litigator’s Art, Examining Witnesses, and Thinking About Terrorism: The Threat to Civil Liberties in Times of National Emergency—all published by ABA Publishing. These essays are not “how-to” guides but, rather, ideas about aspects of trial advocacy. The remaining essays will draw on the works of Yeats, Sartre, and Susan Sontag.

Our lives, and those of jurors, are governed by impressions. A hundred times a day, we make a decision—turn left, step off the curb, order that hamburger, cross the street to avoid someone who looks a little suspicious—based on a moment’s observation. We bring to bear our sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Our past experience informs our choice.

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