A Psychopath in the Courtroom?
This topic might seem peculiar to those working in the realm of civil (and not criminal) litigation. In fact, it is unlikely that any of the players in a civil courtroom will ever search for a “psychopath” therein. Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of corporate misdeeds and the negative press surrounding them has produced such cynicism toward corporations that some people would characterize them as social predators, or psychopaths. This phenomenon has relevance to the litigation environment because of the risk that some potential jurors may be predisposed to find against the corporate client before considering any evidence. Attempts to sway someone with strong negative opinions about corporations are almost certainly futile, because these individuals feel passionately that corporations are corrupt, cunning, and even malicious. As triers of fact, these jurors will not be converted even with the best arguments or evidence. They will actively work toward convincing others to align with them. Fortunately, with effective voir dire techniques, scientifically-based juror questionnaire items, and careful analyses of personal background and social media data, it is possible to identify & eliminate these potential jurors in many cases.