Law versus justice, dead ex-witnesses, and everything old is new again!

Summer is always hot here in the Texas Hill Country but this summer has had added heat from media coverage of a number of very hot trials. The George Zimmerman trial for second degree murder resulted in acquittal, shocking and stunning the country. Unless you read the jury charge given to those six jurors and then you were likely neither shocked nor stunned. This verdict has been described as the difference between law and justice and celebrities like Stevie Wonder have taken a stand of their own on the “stand your ground” laws. US News says Stevie Wonder may have trouble performing in the US at all since between 16 and 30 states now have some version of the “stand your ground” law (when you include the castle doctrine in that count).

The James “Whitey” Bulger trial almost got lost in the media coverage of the Zimmerman trial but it’s been quite a colorful circus of expletives and bile. It isn’t often you hear language in court of the sort we’ve heard here. (It’s like the Sopranos in real life.) When a possible witness in the Bulger trial (Stephen “Stippo” Rakes) was found dead by the side of the road, drama ensued despite the body having no signs of trauma and police believing initially the death was a suicide.

For court-watchers and workers, it’s been an exciting, dramatic and often frustrating summer thus far. The Jury Expert experienced traffic spikes on some of our prior pieces related to the issues and themes in the Zimmerman trial and verdict. So we decided to do an entire issue of ‘classic’ pieces that were not previously available in full-text online. One of the tremendous benefits of publishing online is that our articles can be accessed as they become relevant over and over again. While that was always the point of print publications—unless I was at the library doing formal research—I never went back to old issues of print publications. They just took up space on my shelf. Not so with online publishing.

In other news, The Jury Expert is moving back to being published by the American Society of Trial Consultants. We want to thank the American Society of Trial Consultants Foundation for publishing us for the past year! We are also moving from six issues a year to a quarterly publication. We will publish in August, November, February, and May. It’s a move to reduce the strain on our staff (and our authors!) of publishing every other month around our already busy trial consulting schedules and to reduce costs associated with the publication. Our quality will remain the same. We will work to produce timely as well as classic pieces that live on and take on new life as the news revolves.

Expect our next issue around the first of November. Until then, stay cool and hydrated. Let me know if there are topics you’d like to see covered in The Jury Expert’s ever expanding pages.

Rita R. Handrich, PhD

Editor, The Jury Expert