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Dr Manges PhD | Forensic Psychologist | Expert Witness

voir dire

Organization: Success begins with Voir Dire

In my preceding blogs and concepts, I have attempted to convey that Psychological Analysis of Final Argument will show that success beings with voir dire and proceeds on through the entire trial.

Although I have not mentioned all of the elements in detail and have excluded others, obvious things such as non-verbal communications like, body posture, demonstrative evidence, timing of objections, preparing and sequencing of witnesses are all a necessary part of the mix that allows you to convey and convince the juror of your client’s position.

Success depends on your being prepared. Not with a rigid, fixed script but rather with a game plan that is fluid and can respond to unexpected changes.

Let me assist you in preparation of your case.

Case Illustration

What a surprise. Were some of you surprised? No matter how much I prepare for what I think someone will testify about I am sometimes shocked by what they say under oath.

 Whatever you rehearse will be different when it is presented. However, rehearsal will allow you to feel and act more comfortably with the material. Spontaneity is okay for cocktail parties yet when presented in court it will be exposing you to unforeseen consequences.

Be available to accept the juror as having a collective memory better than and less prejudiced than your own. Consider questions that they might be asking about when Final Argument is made and offer for consideration, with believability, how the answers will support your position.

Take the jury as you find them. If they have just returned from lunch or break or overnight delay, affirm that in your presentation.

Final Arguments: Aligned with Your Theme

Not unlike some of you I must admit I did allow other things to occupy my attention while were out of the courtroom. But, now that we back, I would like to ask you consider the last witness’s testimony and think with me if you will about the question it raises…

Remember your theme. Keep it penciled on your notepad and have your assistance give you ten different ways to say the same thing. When you give Final Argument have your best rendition available.

Final Argument is showing your own truthfulness and the gaps in what your opponent has had to say. Do not malign your opponent and let the jurors do that in your own minds. Be gracious.

As you have already provided the facts, it is time to highlight or minimize their significance. Remember, whatever fact you offer will be considered by the juror as the best you have to give. All damaging facts will be considered with equal weight as those that are positive.

Further, attach the facts with the appropriate emotion. Be consistent with what you have previously shown and act appropriately to the content and timeliness. Do not start off or end with anger. If you start off that way the juror will not know where you are coming from. If you end that way they will recall your vehemence when they finally get to deliberate but they will remember the emotion and lost the point.

And finally, and Final Argument should be practiced. Pace yourself, walk and talk your words, keep you gestures in concert with your concepts and approach the rail when you are talking softly. Do not practice in front of a mirror, practice in front of a reflective surface that allows you the room to express yourself as you will at trial. Let me know what works. If you find something you want to share forward it to the address given. Good luck.


Dr. Kenneth Manges, is a Forensic Psychologist and vocational expert who offers consultation and comprehensive evaluations across the United States. His analyses have been recognized for their clarity and scientific rigor. He offers reasonably certain opinions about the psychological impact of physical injury or emotional trauma as they effect earning capacity and the impact of loss on future work and quality of life.  Well regarded in the litigation arena, he is a trusted and respected authority and offers evaluations that have been consistently upheld in both state and federal courts.

And finally, and Final Argument should be practiced. Pace yourself, walk and talk your words, keep you gestures in concert with your concepts and approach the rail when you are talking softly. Do not practice in front of a mirror, practice in front of a reflective surface that allows you the room to express yourself as you will at trial. Let me know what works. If you find something you want to share forward it to the address given. Good luck.