Is the Bill Cosby Verdict the Start of a New Trend?
(Podcast – 5/11/18)
Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Melissa Gomez, President of MMG Jury Consulting LLC., to talk about how Juries have changed over the past few years. Melissa Gomez is a jury consultant with a PHD in psychology and a Master of Science in education from the University of Pennsylvania. In her career as a jury consultant she has worked on over 600 jury trials across the United States and has written two books; Jury Trials Outside-in: Leveraging Psychology from Discovery to Decision, and The Witness preparation Partner: A Guide to Becoming the Ready Messenger. We brought Melissa in today to talk about the second Bill Cosby trial which resulted in a conviction, to see if she thinks the changes in the political climate and the #MeToo movement had any impact on the jury’s decision. She explains that since 2017 she has seen a sharp increase in distrust among juries towards those who come from a position of power. And, this distrust isn’t just with people like Bill Cosby, it extends to corporations, celebrities, and politicians. She has also noted that jurors are less willing to compromise resulting in more hung juries. Another interesting find Melissa has noted is juries have an increased desire to send a message to those coming from a position of power. Finally, Aaron asks Melissa to give some insight on what all of this means for jury trials as a whole in our country moving forward; if she believes jurors will go back to the way things used to be or if they will continue to polarize and send messages to those in power. Join Aaron Freiwald and Melissa Gomez as they discuss the differences between the two Cosby trials and the state of jury trials in America today.
Did the #MeToo movement Sway the Cosby Jury?
(article – 4/26/18)
The trial of Bill Cosby provides what social scientists might call a natural experiment. In the spring of 2017, a jury could not agree on whether Mr. Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, setting the stage for a retrial.
But between that trial and this one came the revelations over Harvey Weinstein and a cascade of other powerful men that invigorated the #MeToo movement. The big question: would it make any difference?
Bill Cosby’s next sex abuse trial will be much more than a rerun
(article – 3/25/18)
Some things are the same: the famous defendant and his key accuser, the prosecutors, the judge and the Pennsylvania courtroom.
But the second trial of Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges is shaping up to be far different from the first, which ended in a mistrial last June with a hopelessly deadlocked jury that could not agree on whether “America’s Dad” drugged and molested Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.
Here’s a look at how the retrial, scheduled to get off the ground with jury selection on April 2, will be a departure from the legal drama that unfolded last spring.
In Mueller Cases, Picking a Fair Jury Poses a Challenge
(article – 11/24/17)
With the first trial resulting from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation expected in the spring, prosecutors, defense lawyers and the judge head toward a delicate and often difficult task: picking a fair jury.
In high-profile trials, finding jurors who don’t come armed with their own set of conclusions about a case can be a challenge. And in a politically divisive climate, that task grows even more complex for trials that touch on the presidency, legal experts said
The Bill Cosby Trial: What Went Wrong?
(article – 6/18/17)
Social media erupted Saturday morning when news broke that Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault trial had ended in a hung jury. When the judge announced a mistrial a little after 10 a.m., questions loomed about what could have possibly happened to cause the jury to become so hopelessly deadlocked in this high-profile case, and whether the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office would take on the 79-year-old comedian a second time.
How the Spotlight can Shape Jury Decisions
(radio interview – 6/15/17)
While jurors in two radically different cases deliberate under the scrutiny of the media, the public’s attention is focused on how juries are supposed to operate in cases and crimes that lay at the center of public discourse.
Melissa M. Gomez, a nationally known jury consultant and the president of MMG Jury Consulting, and the author of “Jury Trials Outside In: Leveraging Psychology from Discovery to Decision,” brings her expertise to break down the various factors that might impact a jury’s decision.
Abortion Clinic Trial: How Much Graphic Testimony Can Jurors Take?
When the defense starts its case on Monday, knowing where the jurors are emotionally, is critical. In cases like the “House of Horrors” abortion clinic trial, the impact of enduring weeks of such graphic testimony and images on jurors is something attorneys on both sides have to weigh carefully.
“If you use it too much, it can actually backfire because jurors will think, ‘You’re trying to upset me to get what you want,’” said Philadelphia jury consultant Melissa M. Gomez.
Sandusky Trial Opens Near Penn State
(radio interview – 6/11/12)
The child sex-abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky opens Monday in Bellefonte, Pa. — just a few miles from Penn State University, where Sandusky was a longtime assistant football coach. Many of the jurors in the case have ties to Penn State. But legal experts say it’s not clear how that will affect the trial.
Can Jerry Sandusky jurors overlook their biases? Analysts say it will be difficult.
(article – 6/8/12)
The seven women and five men who will sit in judgment of Jerry Sandusky starting Monday have all pledged to be fair. But that doesn’t mean when they enter the jury box that they’ll be able to check their biases at the door.