Tag Archives: jurors

Be a “Real Man” – Die Early in an Accident

A new study shows that (white) people in southern states are more likely to die in accidents than (white) people in northern states. I wish I had the entire study instead of the writeup, but the main point seems to be this:

A “culture of honor” leads people in southern states to take more dangerous risks.

How does that affect your case?

1. People who try to act like “real men” – you know, the beer swilling, Chuck Norris loving, tobacco chewing good ole boys – are more likely to engage in risky behavior. This goes for women too, interestingly enough. That means that these folks are more likely to drive recklessly, ride a motorcycle without a helmet, etc etc. They cause accidents (and make accidents worse, like when they don’t wear a helmet).

2. These types of people (who, of course, can be found everywhere) are less likely to be sympathetic on a jury.

So how do you deal with this type of juror? The focus in closing argument has to be about honor. About how the defendant needs to “man up” and face his responsibility. How the jury can’t let people act dangerously, hurt someone, and get away scot-free.

Likewise, if you recognize that you ARE this type of person, don’t take this to mean that I don’t like you. I do. I just want people to stick around a little longer, and another study linked above shows that injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans under 45.

So be a man. Just don’t be stupid.







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What’s on my Bookshelf – 14 Good Books for Trial Lawyers/Trial Practice

So here are the books I’ve bought in the last 5 or 6 years specifically to help my trial advocacy. Some are better than others, but each one is worth at least a look. In no particular order:

1. Ball on Damages – David Ball

2. Reptile – Ball and Keenan

3. Win Your Case – Gerry Spence

4. Who Will Speak for the Victim – Perdue

5. Words that Work – Luntz

6. What Americans Really Want, Really – Luntz

7. McElhaney’s Trial Notebook – McElhaney

8. Polarizing the Case – Freidman

9. Rules of the Road – Friedman

10. Moe Levine on Advocacy

11. Your Witness – Lessons on Cross-Examination

12. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury – Greatest Closing Arguments in Modern Law – Lief

13. Legal Blame – How Jurors Think and Talk About Accidents – Feigenson

14. Exposing Deceptive Defense Doctors – Sims

(Howard Zimmerle is a lawyer from Moline who practices accident and injury law in Iowa and Illinois. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).

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New Preliminary Jury Instruction in Illinois – 1.01

Here it is – and it’s good.

If you remember, 1.01 was just re-done a year or two ago, but they added to it again.

The gist of some of the additions-

1. Don’t google stuff. Seriously, no wikipedia, no facebook, no [insert currently relevant website here, twitter or whatever] (seriously, the instruction says “insert current examples”. Nothing like the “alter my pants as fashion dictates” approach to jury instructions. It works though – imagine an old instruction that said “Don’t go to altavista or Ask Jeeves. Stay away from the usenets. Don’t chat about it on ICQ.”

2. Seriously, don’t friggin google stuff. This is the gist of about 3 paragraphs.

3. If you do talk about this, google it or whatever, you screwed up and wasted everyones time. Oh, and you could be guilty of contempt of court. I love this part of it. It is the first one of these instructions I’ve seen that answers the “why not” question.

So now you’re officially on the cutting edge of Illinois trial practice – you have the jury instruction in front of you the day after it came out. Assuming it’s still February 1, 2011.

(Howard Zimmerle is a trial lawyer practicing in the Quad City area. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle[at]mjwlaw.com)

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