I read a recent article about the importance of “morality” in the trial story. What is really involved is finding the underlying issue which connects with the jurors universal ideas of right values. It is also connected to the idea of “reptile” i.e. those basic instincts which we possess regarding survival. Here are the items the article listed regarding morality.
Are You Protecting Us?
We’ve evolved with “attachment systems” that include an ability to feel and dislike pain, and insecurity in both ourselves and others. There is a basic survival need which involves protection. Showing how your case impacts protection and survival of the jurors or community is important. We have developed a sense of altruism, which includes notions of justice, autonomy, fairness, and rights. There is a fundamental
Fairness or Cheating:
We have developed a sense of altruism, which includes notions of justice, autonomy, fairness, and rights. There is a universal sense of what is right and fair. Appealing to this basic value system motivates the jurors. Showing the plaintiff’s fairness and defense unfairness should be part of your case.
Loyalty or Betrayal:
Based on a long evolutionary history of living in groups, we tend to place a moral priority on membership and belonging. Gerry Spence would talk about this as being part of a tribe. Betrayal of what is valued by the tribe or community or nation is unaccceptable. Making the effort to recover from adversity is good and actions which are contrary to the best interests of the tribe bad.
Are You Playing By the Rules?
Rules keep us safe. When we know what the rules are we are able to function without fear of harm provided everyone plays by the rules. Violating rules means possible danager or unfairness or betrayal of trust. Establishing the rules and how they were violated by the defendant is an important part of your case.
Do You Have ‘Clean Hands?
Historically the law has adopted the doctrine of clean hands. To the extent the person seeking a remedy is at fault there is a sanction in law generally. Who was in the right and who was in the wrong? What the as the motive behind the actions? These are questions the jurors ask themselves.