Courtroom Experiences (09-08-22)

Abrams writes about online trials, but her text includes insights into factors that legal professionals find significant in physical courtrooms.   Abrams shares that courtrooms “tend to feel grand and formal, bedecked with wood paneling, an American flag, and security guards.  In a more familiar setting—the living room or the break room at work—might behavior and decision-making differ? ‘Many times, when people come into the courthouse, they’re acting nonchalant,’ said Judge Richard Young. . . . ‘But once they see the courtroom, the jury chairs, the bench, and the judge wearing a black robe, they can detect that this is a serious setting and they need to act accordingly.’” Also, “it can be harder to establish rapport [in an online setting] because there are fewer nonverbal cues. . . . As a result, optimizing things such as lighting, framing, and camera angles is crucial. . . . People are seen as more trustworthy when filmed at eye level, for example, compared with when filmed from above or below.”

Zara Abrams.  2022. “Can Justice Be Served Online.”  Monitor on Psychology, vol. 53, no. 6, pp. 70-77.