Evidential are just as engrossed as everyone with the plight of Steven Avery in the Netflix documentary “How to make a murderer.” Whilst admittedly the view is all from one side it is fascinating to see the American version of the court world we know all too well at Evidential. The tense battle between Prosecution and Defence is worthy of being classed as a spectator sport whilst the media’s hunger for more, or at times, for anything, is comparable to a number of high profile cases we have provided our services for.
Then there are the differences in how American courts handle things when compared with the British judicial system. In particular the jury selection process that has always fascinated me and Hollywood has had a shot at dramatising this in the film Runaway Jury (worth watching just for the Dustin Hoffman vs Gene Hackman bathroom scene).
Interviewing jurors before trial in order to gather opinion whether the juror believes the accused is guilty (having heard no evidence) and then proceed with that juror seems unfathomable. Our British system tries it’s best to start with a clean slate and let’s the juror decide upon the court evidence only and not some creative journalism whereas the American system doesn’t appear to take this stance. Whilst a British judge would ask whether a juror believes they have any conflict of interest in the case, the Americans complete questionnaires and are quizzed about their relatives/job/lifestyle/stance before being strategically chosen by a jury specialist.
Fair play to Wisconsin Court for embracing EPE like graphics during the trial, despite being almost a decade ago there were elements of aerial photography and 3D reconstructions featuring during the trial. However these elements didn’t appear to be used to their full potential and nowadays drone technology and laser scanning technology would have been ideal for such a case. However once again there were presentation elements that were cringeworthy. In particular the images of the people involved smiling for the camera shown during the closing speech and the graphic showing blood results gave me a rye smile.
The series has quite rightly caught the publics eye and there is already talk of a follow up but I’ll stop there before spoiling any of the series for those who have yet to see it. As I pointed out it is purposely a one sided view that shows how professional presentation of evidence, in this case a documentary about the Defence case, can make a very propelling case and can easily persuade your opinion. But did he do it?