STUDYING JURORS' SHOES
You are choosing
a jury. The case concerns a 34 year old woman who was riding in
her friend's car when the car was hit by oncoming traffic. The
plaintiff suffered minor neck and back pains, but otherwise, seemed
all right. Now, however, she is complaining of depression, lack
of concentration and nightmares. She makes mistakes at work, is
nervous, anxious and ill tempered. She says her life has changed
dramatically since the accident and is suing for pain and suffering
and loss of ability to work.
|One of the potential female jurors
is wearing the shoes in illustration #1. Another is wearing the shoes
in illustration #2. As defense counsel, which juror would you prefer?
|Answer to Quiz
|If I were assisting defense counsel
in jury selection, I would point out that the woman who is wearing
the boots presents a more stable and balanced posture than the woman
wearing the 3 inch heels. The boots are comfortable and easy to walk
in, and still fashionable. The flat heel keeps a busy woman connected
to the ground and balanced. They allow her to assert herself in the
|High heels fit the more traditional
female image elegant, but unsteady. With so little of her
foot connected to the ground, this woman sits in the stratosphere,
precariously perched on a stiletto heel. She is restrained in her
movement and can easily be knocked off balance. These shoes demand
a more passive demeanor, one of being observed rather than being
on the move.
|The defense wants practical, down-to-earth
jurors who will examine plaintiff's claims with a critical eye; weigh
possibility versus probability; judge the case according to the facts
and not feelings. Defense wants people grounded in reality rather
than soaring the heights of fanciful imagination. So I would recommend
the woman wearing the boots.
|Shoes are just one indicator of personality. Clothes,
accessories, jewelry, make-up, hair style, fingernails, body shape,
tension, gestures, posture are other nonverbal indicators. The more
nonverbal indicators you can interpret, the more reliable your evaluation.
Being aware of these indicators will not guarantee you a jury verdict,
but being literate in the nonverbal language gives you that extra bit
of information in jury selection which could make the difference between
an educated guess and a wild shot.