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November 2, 2015

By Amy Singer, Ph.D. and Kemberlee Bonnet 

In our prior article we discussed the sacred attribute of Chokmah, which translates to “wisdom” (Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation – Part three: Wisdom, June 17, 2015), and that the attributes of knowledge and understanding must be appropriately combined to form wisdom.  Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are considered the three  “intellect” attributes. Without the jury having knowledge, understanding and wisdom of your testimony, evidence and arguments: you lose.

Now we will move to the remaining seven attributes that deal with the emotional aspects of your case. The first emotional attribute in the Sephroit is Chesed, which translates to “kindness.” Chokmah and Chesed are connected, as wisdom provides us with the capacity to connect with our emotions intelligently, not making decisions on some arbitrary whim. This is how the Sephroit works- the attributes are not exclusive; rather, they work as a system.

Jurors are instructed to make decisions based on fact, but as humans, it is difficult to leave one’s emotions behind. We all have emotions, but in actuality, they have us. Although emotions are considered irrational when it comes to making a decision, they are useful in getting us in tune to a situation, but only if we are intelligent with them. Too much of any Sephroit attribute is not good- although it might sound odd to say there can be too much kindness, it is not. Imagine if a juror feels more kindness towards one side versus the other? In order for there to be justice, there must be kindness; kindness towards both sides equally.

So what is kindness? Kindness (Chesed) is a core ethical virtue.[i] It is much more than being pleasant and wishing someone well, it is associated with action, a pro-active virtue.[ii] The difference between kindness and “being nice” or empathetic is that kindness is associated with action. Chesed is properly described as an act that has no “cause”- it is a gift in which the receiver owes nothing in return.[iii]For example, you run out of gas and someone has a gas can and helps you. If it is truly a Chesed act, they will expect nothing in return for letting you use their gas can.

Kindness is different from compassion. In kindness, a person may feel sorry for someone but will not reflect the suffering person’s feelings.[iv] Compassion is a deeper and stronger feeling, as compared to kindness. An act of compassion would involve, for example, talking to a person and understanding their emotions and problems, delving much deeper into the situation at hand at a more personal level. This, of course would be impossible for a juror to do from the jury panel. Kindness is not sympathy. Litigators do not want sympathy, they want kindness in judgment. Justice can never be based on sympathy.

Kindness Must be Equally Felt Among the Parties

A juror must separate the head from the heart and follow the law. There is an expectation that the law be followed. It sounds contradictory to Chesed, where nothing is to be expected from one’s actions; however, justice is always expected- but to get to justice one must be impartial. One cannot expect a certain turnout because of his or her own beliefs, values or morals. So in order to dispense justice you truly have to expect nothing of benefit for yourself but the truth. To do otherwise would be unfair or unkind to one side of the law either to the state, the victim or even the defendant.

I consulted on a case where a young drunk driver killed an elderly woman. Obviously those individuals who felt sorry for one side more so than the other were excused for cause. The other jurors were kind in their judgments to both sides. They had the intellectual attributes of knowledge, understanding and wisdom for both sides. They understood the tragedy for both sides. In their minds, justice was awarding exactly what the plaintiff asked for in compensatory damages. Furthermore, they awarded exactly as much as the defense wanted in punitive damages. The verdict was not appealed. Both sides felt that justice was served.

Conclusion

Even a positive trait such as Chesed has undesirable spin-offs if it is not applied correctly. One should not want to have Chesed at the expense of another. Further, if a person does not have well-defined boundaries then he may find it difficult to avoid misrepresentation because honesty requires the ability to follow the boundaries of truth.[v]A juror might have the natural propensity for Chesed, but he cannot allow his natural dispositions to lead him instinctively. Rather, he must balance his Chesed when necessary.

 


By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

In our most recent article we discussed the sacred attribute of Binah, (Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation – Part two: Understanding, May 5, 2015) which translates to “understanding.” We specifically discussed the importance of unifying a juror with a case-specific situation that they cannot personally identify with initially, because they have never experienced that situation themselves.  We have also previously discussed the sacred attribute of Da’at, which translates to “knowledge,” and the importance of not simply providing information to jurors, but connecting them with case-specific facts. Now we will discuss the third attribute of Kabbalah, Chokmah, which translates to “wisdom.”[1]

The two attributes of “knowledge” and “understanding” are intellectual, and must appropriately combine to become “wisdom” in order to be useful, as intellect and analysis work up until a certain point.[2] Once you know what to do with the information that you have, you are essentially entrusted with the wisdom to carry it out.

 

What is Wisdom? Continue reading →

By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

In our previous article we discussed Da’at, (Applied Kabbalah: 10 sacred attributes to integrate into litigation, March 12, 2015) which translates to “knowledge” and we discussed the importance of connecting knowledge to the juror and their insight in a given issue. Having formed a relationship with knowledge on a personal level, the sensitivity of a given concept was gained through life experience.

However, sometimes we cannot unify ourselves to a situation initially, because we have never experienced the situation ourselves. This is where the attribute of Binah facilitates understanding of the given issue, and takes the original idea presented and expands and develops it into understanding. Continue reading →

 

By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

The Kabbalah (קַבָּלָה‎) is an ancient, complex and respected Jewish study of how the universe and life work; it increases awareness and it is a way of connecting various aspects of life..[1]  In modern times, the study of Kabbalah is less esoteric, as many individuals from all backgrounds study and apply its teachings to their everyday lives. There are 10 attributes (Sephirot) characteristic to the Kabbalah, which together result in “truth.” One of these attributes, the topic for this article, is referred to as DA’AT, which translates to “knowledge.”[2]  Kabbalah is concerned with “receiving,” therefore the DA’AT component of Kabbalah means receiving knowledge. Continue reading →

By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

 

It is not uncommon in personal injury cases for the injured individual to delay seeking medical treatment after an incident. Why is that?  The fact is that injured persons often do not experience symptoms of injury at the time of an incident, however much later, an injury related to the incident emerges. We refer to such injuries as “latent” injuries, an injury in which the onset of symptoms is delayed. As an attorney you must be able to recognize that jurors will most likely have an uninformed response, most likely negative, to the concept of latent injuries. Continue reading →

Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias

By Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Ph.D., Amy Singer, Ph.D. and Diana Greninger

Jury selection for Jodi Arias sentencing phase began this Monday in Arizona.  Given this case’s publicity, social media has once again come into question.  As citizens, we must ask ourselves, is it possible social media is affecting our jury system? Are defendants in these high publicity trials in fact getting a fair and impartial jury of peers? How can attorneys select a panel of impartial jurors once the case has been broadcasted to the world?  Is social media affecting witness testimony or any other aspects of a trial? Continue reading →

By Amy Singer, Ph.D.

Hypnotists, behavioral modification counselors, specialists in neurolinguistic programming, and similar professionals are knowledgeable about, and employ, various highly powerful psychological techniques to convince, persuade, and influence others. Some of these techniques are directly applicable for use with jurors. They are remarkably potent because they operate on the jurors’ subconscious mental processes1. One of the most effective of these techniques is a process known as “anchoring.” Continue reading →

chess winner defeats kingBy Amy Singer, Ph.D. and Diana Greninger

What is the key to winning a jury trial?  Finding the argument to which there is no counterargument…and making sure the jury understands it clearly. Continue reading →

Jury_box_2By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

When it comes to voir dire, attorneys have to de-select from the venire members they are “dealt.” It is similar to a game of Rummy. When your hand is dealt, you discard the cards you don’t want and keep the ones that will give you the greatest chance of winning.  This might seem counter intuitive when it comes to voir dire, but people bring with them their worldviews and personality traits that are difficult to “pick” from. So how does one sort through these characteristics and decide who to de-select? First identify what kind of individuals cannot fairly decide your case. Continue reading →

Online Focus GroupsBy Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet

Until recently, traditional face-to-face focus groups have been the obvious and most widely used method in conducting research.  However, like anything else, face-to-face focus groups have their challenges. For example, traditional focus groups can be expensive, require extensive travel and often involve small samples so outcomes can be limited in generalization. In addition, some individuals might be introverted and others reluctant to express their true opinions because of embarrassment or fear of group disapproval. It can also be difficult fulfilling the opposition prone sample that you need. Fortunately technology has provided a solution to many problems associated with traditional focus groups by changing the location in which they are conducted: online.

Have you ever ran into any of the aforementioned issues while conducting research using traditional focus groups? Here is some food for thought: Continue reading →