In the seventeenth edition of his weekly column in Law360, DOAR’s real-life New York City Jury Consultant and Psychologist reviews the fictional NYC Jury Consultant/Psychologist on the television series “Bull,” focusing on what litigation is really like in the trenches.
You know how on medical shows they teach you how to commit malpractice and get away with it? In this episode, Bull teaches how to get away with jury tampering, and Benny shows us how to get disbarred.
The Case of the Pump and Dump Class Action
This week, Bull spends tens of millions of dollars developing a class action against a huge bank that was running a pump and dump scheme, because he is Bruce Wayne. The clues were there all the time: He lives in a lair in New York City, fights crimes in the warehouse district, and wears a cardigan to court as if covering something on his chest.
Meanwhile, the show continues to have a slowly murmuring storyline in which Benny experiences actorly angst due to being investigated for having wrongly sent a guy to prison for nine years. This profoundly dull ongoing storyline is mentioned every week now, but never develops, lingering like an old tuna sandwich left in a co-worker’s desk drawer.
Plot, plot, egregious activities, Bull wins the case.
Yes, there is so much illegal and unethical behavior this week that it gets its own subsection. Welcome to Felony Corner.
All four readers of this column (me, my editor, me a couple more times) think that I am about to talk about Cable’s misdeeds, and yet, Cable has been sitting on her hands for a number of episodes.
Bull and Benny take over where she left off. Bull bribes a witness to tamper with a seated juror, stating that it is not tampering if they don’t talk about the case. That’s right. Jury tampering on its own was not enough. He bribed the witness too.
The judge finds out and, surprisingly, is not a fan of this. Among other things, he threatens Benny with potential disbarment, but that does not scare Benny off of other disbarrable activities, namely, having a romance with his client mid-trial. It all works out though. They win the case, and Benny gets to make love and be disbarred another day.
Perhaps one day there will be a thrilling spin-off show called Appellate Court, in which every single one of Bull’s victories is overturned due to egregious misconduct. (I know, but it’s still not as boring as the Benny storyline). In the meantime, Bull has been renewed for a second season, so we can all continue to learn new ways to break the law. It will be like learning from the older kids while spending a year in juvie! Ah, memories …
Is That What Jury Consulting is Like?
As usual, Bull started off with some reasonable jury consulting for this case, but then moved on to bribery and jury tampering.
Bull developed the case from scratch so he got the opportunity to integrate a lot of jury consulting services into one coherent case presentation. First, he practiced educating a mock jury on how the financial crime worked (but this lesson would have benefited from some good educational trial graphics). Next, based on what he learned from the mock jury, he changed the full case narrative. He then developed jury profiles for favorable and unfavorable jurors based on who would respond to this new narrative. Finally, he chose the testifying witnesses from the class to which this jury would most favorably respond.
That is solid comprehensive jury consulting. If only the episode were just 20 minutes long, it would have been perfect.
As a clinical psychologist, I know that any storyline about psychotherapy will end with the therapist breaching all ethical standards by having sex with clients. Now I will have to get used to jury-tampering jury consultants. I’m sure priests have not enjoyed watching TV for some time now.
But enough about me. Next week, more disregard for civil society!