Manipulating Juries with PowerPoint
Interesting article on the subconscious visual tricks used to manipulate juries and affect verdicts.
In December 2012 the Washington Supreme Court threw out Glasmann’s convictions based on the “highly inflammatory” slides. As a general rule, courts don’t want prosecutors expressing their personal opinion to a jury; they’re supposed to couch their arguments in terms of what the evidence shows. Plastering the word “GUILTY” on a slide—not once or twice, but three times—was a “flagrant and ill intentioned” violation of this principle, the Washington Supreme Court wrote. The captions superimposed on the photos were “the equivalent of unadmitted evidence.”
One justice, Tom Chambers, wrote that he was stunned at the state’s contention that there was nothing wrong with digitally altering the booking photo. “Under the State’s logic, in a shooting case, there would be nothing improper with the State altering an image of the accused by photoshopping a gun into his hand,” Chambers wrote.
Jeffrey Ellis, a lawyer from Portland, Oregon, represented Glasmann on appeal. “We all know that commercials can try to persuade people on a subconscious level,” Ellis said in an interview. “But I don’t think the criminal-justice system wants to enter into that base arena.”
I think we need some clear rules as to what’s permitted.