The Champion

June 2006 , Page 10 

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Juror Stress! New Challenges to Juror Competency

By Dr. Sunwolf

A juror’s mind is not a simple information-processing machine. While processing complex data, a juror’s mind is simultaneously and profoundly affected by:

  • • the state of the juror’s body (internal emergencies and discrepancies),
  • • mood (emotional tensions and conflicts),
  • • environment (climate and physical constraints like wooden chairs),
  • • social space (mood and feedback from others), and
  • • prior experiences (resolved or painful),to name a few. Further, people change from day to day, from morning to afternoon, before meals and after them. It follows that during jury selection, we are both selecting and de-selecting far more complex human beings than we generally have imagined.

Few trial practitioners see each juror as a complete human being. This is largely a failure of information. The time is ripe to consider the bio-physiology of our jurors and new factors that impact their competency to serve in our trials, since the way we understand jurors has been incomplete. Sometimes we come

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