Jurors in the Age of Google

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Hello my Blog Colleagues—

I’m off to Hawaii (yes – I hear the groans from you snow-bounders). But I’m really off to work! The Federal Bar Council, made up of appellate and federal judges and the lawyers empowered to appear before them, is meeting to discuss a very serious new issue appearing in our trial court.

The name of the program is Jurors in the Age of Google…

And the problem? Jurors, who are required by law to make decisions based only on the evidence they see and hear in court, are now going home and googling everything about the trial they’re sitting and judging! Checking out the backgrounds of lawyers, the witnesses, the information, the technical or medical evidence and so on. And since they do this in secret, how are we now to handle this? What can now constitute a fair trial? Will the courts make accommodations for this phenomenon? Pass new laws?

My role is to help the assembled members understand what happened to communication and how TV, computers and the Internet have drastically changed us.

I’ll discuss the origins and effects of these changes and the new demands we all make now about how we learn- let alone listen- or don’t. And then to explain the Generation Gaps and how these very different groups process, accept or reject information and what that’s based on.

Then I’ll present some new skills and new approaches to help lawyers and judges reach jurors more effectively.

When I return I’ll tell you all about what happened at this exciting meeting and what was decided that can affect us all…


Response to David Finkel from the Huffington Post

Well done, David. You are indeed an understanding curmudgeon.

But there is indeed a problem with convincing people to let the words alone be the message. As I’ve researched and written about the differences between the generations, here’s the major stumbling block to get people to be sated by simply linear reading. Gen X and especially Gen Y are conditioned to learn visually- in short edited bursts of information. Computers also speak in mixed media -words and graphics- and make short shrift of most verbal messages. So these generations have learned to control time and how they take in information. The resultant impatience they’ve developed make long-term reading a chore. And there goes the pleasure.

With admiration and in agreement with your ideas—Sonya Hamlin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost