Top Tips to Make a Jury Like You: When you are going to trial, whether as someone accused or an attorney, there will be an important group of people that will determine whether a sentence should be given or not. It’s not the judge that will be sealing the deal, but the jury.
If you want to have any hope of getting a favorable sentence, then you must make the jury like you. There are some ways to encourage that, which we will approach in this article.
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When going to trial, criminal defense attorneys recommend the following things: don’t speak unless you are spoken to, and in case you do have to speak, make sure that you are respectful. It goes without saying that being disrespectful towards anyone will not help you with the jury.
Respect their process, even if it seems very pompous and formal. Stand when you are addressing the court, and don’t make any nasty facial expressions that scream “I don’t have time for this.” Show respect for the people and the process, and you’ll grow in the eyes of the jury. You should ask your lawyer a few questions about the process so that you can get yourself ready.
Careful of Your Body Language
Your body language tells a lot about you, and the jury’s been trained to notice everything. This can actually turn out to work to your advantage because if you cannot talk to the jury during the trial, you will need to express yourself through body language.
The first one is eye contact. When you do have to talk to a jury, make eye contact when you are addressing them. If you don’t, then you will just seem insecure or dishonest about your arguments.
Stand confident, look focused, don’t react suddenly – and regardless of what the judge or jury says, don’t roll your eyes. You’ll be surprised how often eye-rolling happens in court, and it rarely ends well for you.
Maintain a Composed Smile
We did say that you should not react and look focused, but that does not mean you should look like a robot. This often makes it very difficult for the jury to connect with you and the attorney that represents your case.
Keep a composed smile and remember: if they see you sweat, they’ll take it as a sign of guilt. If you keep a smile on your face, you will gain their confidence and build a bond. Everyone likes seeing a nice smile.
Dressing appropriately may help you get a better hang of your case. It might seem like a good idea to dress in rags to “express your regret,” but it might look like the complete opposite in court: you are a fraud, and you have no respect for the court formalities. And the last thing you probably want to be associated with in court is “fraud.”
In court, the jury tends to be subconsciously sympathetic towards those that are similar to themselves. This is why it is a common custom to be wearing a suit. Don’t overdo your price tag, though, especially if the case is on the lines of money laundering or mugging.
Even if you are not the kindest person in the world, kindness tends to make the world a better place. Many of the court cases were lost, simply because the lawyer or the client treated someone in the room badly, or appeared overall mean.
Remember, you need to be confident and at most neutral, but you don’t want to look like you are seconds from punching someone. This will certainly make you look bad in the eyes of the jury, especially if your case involves some sort of violence as well.
By appearing kind, you will just make it seem to the jury like it was a momentary lapse. They will also give you the benefit of the doubt, simply because your niceness makes you seem like a good person. They are more likely to listen to what you say, a chance that will become slimmer if you begin acting nasty or dishonest.
The Bottom Line
Trials can be quite difficult, and you always need to be careful about what you say and do. That being said, the right behavior can help you win the jury over, which will increase your chances of winning the case. Your attorney should be able to give you advice as well, so make sure that you talk to them beforehand.
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