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Bringing Drama to the Courtroom

NCJ Number
Trial Volume: 33 Issue: 9 Dated: (September 1997) Pages: 48-53
J M Perdue
Date Published
6 pages
This article discusses the use of dramatic concepts in the courtroom.
Before presenting a client for trial, counsel should analyze character just as screenwriters do. In addition to presenting to jurors the client's name, age, occupation and health problems, the trial lawyer can develop a description of his or her childhood and past and present relationships with parents, siblings and other key people, philosophy of life, and personality. In addition, the client's motive is important. Just as movie audiences can look beyond character faults if they feel that laudable motives drive an individual, so, too, may a jury evaluate motive. The lawyer must also develop a story. Studies have shown that a trial's outcome is influenced by order of proof. Which witness testifies first determines the story's direction. The lawyer must include in case presentation elements to capture the jury's attention, a story that condemns fault, applauds courage, demeans perfidy and honors commitment. A trial that focuses on philosophical notions and scientific principles ensures loss of the jury's attention. Notes