I am a big believer in using current technology in presenting evidence to a jury. One of the easiest ways to impress a jury is to scan your photographs and import them into a PowerPoint Presentation and then use a projector to show them to the jury. Do you have a great way you show pictures to a jury?
PowerPoint is a great tool -- but, there's nothing like mixing the new stuff with the old-fashioned way of passing out an 11x17 color photo of a victim or crime scene to the jurors. That way, they can look and absorb the details as long as they need. Otherwise, jurors are at the mercy of the projector operator. Let them take as long as they need for the effect to take effect -- it also helps your team watch them and see if they're "getting the message" by how long photos are held and perused.
A.P., I'm not even a bailiff either, but.....
Your point is well taken, however, I think that the beauty of the projector system is not only can they see the photo in all of its 6 feet by 8 feet (depending on screen size)of glory but we also have an expert or witness using a laser pointer or other device to focus them where WE want them to be focused. That is hard to do by handing the photo out to the jurors.
That is exactly the strength of the Powerpoint projection. The jury will have plenty of time during deliberations to study the little photo. But, by projecting it when I want it seen and coordindinating it with testimony, I think we lock the jury into our theory of the case. And if you work it right, you have the witness describe the scene, describe the picture showing the scene, and then explain the picture with testimony. By repeating the same thought three times without being boring, you are much more likely to get the jury to accept your version of the events.
And then the same photos make a great way to structure a final argument. They see it again and recognize it because it was the biggest thing in the courtroom during the trial.
And now we can digitize our videotapes, making it easier to go through a scene with a witness, easier to create a freeeze frame of the key moment, and easier to move the action frame by frame, if necessary.
Does anyone else digitize video yet?
I purchased a "video capture" card and used it to try pull out still photos from a video but didn't have much luck (pictures too blurry). We haven't tried to pull out and show certain scenes, what kind of system do you use and for what purposes?
To capture video, I connect a digital video camera to a VCR, and an Apple lap top computer to the digital video camera (involving different types of cables). I turn on iMovie (which comes free from Apple) and click on import after I begin playing the VCR.
I download as much of the video as I need (ususally only a couple of minutes because this stuff eats up memory like crazy). Then I have a digital clip in the iMovie application for me to work on.
I edit the clip to the length I need (usually to show a few seconds of a particular part of the video). Then I export the clip out of iMovie into a format that can be used in Powerpoint (there are several choices that decide the size of the file, but I usually choose the best format for wide-screen viewing).
To watch that clip, I can either use Quicktime (again free from Apple, although a $30 upgrade will give you the ability to edit in Quicktime and export in other formats) or put the file in a Powerpoint slide and show it (but you have to have Quicktime on the computer to make that work).
Once you have a clip, you also can create a separate freeze frame (in iMovie or in Quicktime). I have found that the quality is much better than through DPS. For example, we recently used a freeze frame to show that the defendant did indeed have a gun in his hand during a high speed chase caught on video. You couldn't catch it by watching the video because it went by too fast.
This is all a lot of information but it really isn't so complicated if you have the time to play with this stuff. TDCAA has been very generous in giving me opportunities to use this stuff during training classes.
Way to go! If your evidence isn't impressive go for impressing the jury with technology! Of course some would ask "If you evidence is not so impressive, why are you trying the case to begin with?".
PowerPoint is great, but you need to make sure that you get color copies of all your slides into the record so that the appellate courts aren't left in the dark. Make sure you get extra copies to the court reporter so that she doesn't have to photocopy them. Its awful hard to describe that neat PowerPoint presentation from the muddled testimony and illegible photocopies, and I don't think the courts of appeals are ready to just take the presentations on diskettes and run them in chambers. Soon maybe, but not yet.
Power Point, like all trial aids, is only effective if used properly. At its most basic it makes the evidence more visible to the jury and thereby enhances their understanding of the case. It is also a lot cheaper to project all your pictures and diagrams on the wall then it is to have them enlarged and mounted by a graphics department.
As for SDINASH I don't quite understand you bitterness towards using Power-Point. I have found that most people who criticize its use are the same people whose VCR's are still blinking "12:00".
In addition to the photo and video presentation features of Power Point, are y'all also using the text and word processing features, e.g., outlining testimony for argument or displaying quotes? Also, is anyone using the cheesy little graphics and sound effects that are so common with most Power Point presentations. I would think these might be entertaining to the jurors but I'm wondering whether such antics might be objectionable. I know you can get away with lots of stuff in arguments but I'm curious as to how some of this whiz-bang stuff actually works in practice.
One of the strongest arguments for using Power Point and projector systems is the abilty show the jury our elemnts chart, definitions, quotes etc.. I use a fairly simply template to lay out these charts and limit the "special effects".The built in sounds and other effects are awesome for seminars and presentations, but would seem a little bit over the top in court-to me.
I've often wanted to use the "Law and Order" gavel sounds between slides or the "Bad Boys" theme on mug shots but decided it might be the best place.
Would it be objectionable for the state to play theme music during final argument?
I've always thought "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" would be good background music for closing.
Is there a good location on the internet to obtain movie clips to insert into a powerpoint presentation?
I meant to say court might NOT be the best place for these sounds. I've recently progressed to the faster but less accurate 2 index finger typing method.
Keith, you might try :
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