Two jury consultants and an attorney provide a long summary of their findings from a study of mock jurors: An Empirical Study Of The Value of Impeaching With Prior Inconsistent Statements, Drug and Device Law, May 15, 2007. My summary of the summary:
- Jurors go into civil trials expecting witnesses to tell the truth (72% believe witnesses will be as honest as possible).
- Most (60%) jurors believe that a witness making a statement that's inconsistent with earlier statements is lying, rather than making an honest mistake.
- Few jurors said that an inconsistency would make them disregard everything the witness said. They look to behavioral clues.
- Jurors will cut a witness slack if told that the inconsistency could be the result of the stress of being in the courtroom.