Jury “Kill Switch” (Part 2 in a series)
The advantages of digitally presenting evidence to a jury exceeds just visual appeal, smooth transitions and clearer viewing.
Electronic trial exhibit presentation systems also provide the opportunity to utilize a jury “kill switch.”
With a kill switch, the attorneys are given the ability to “kill” the screen that displays exhibits to the jury. This permits the judge, counsel and witness the ability to review non-admitted exhibits on their monitors and have the witness testify as to the foundation of an exhibit, all out of the viewing presence of the jury. The jury sees and hears the testimony, they just don’t see the non-admitted exhibit. Once proper foundation for the exhibit exists, the judge then allows the exhibit to be published to the jury. With a simple flip of a switch, the now admitted exhibit is instantly displayed on the jury’s monitor or screen.
A jury kill switch can be implemented in several ways, including with the use of a more complex matrix switcher or a simpler 2 channel VGA switch. The simpler method is to insert a switch between the presentation signal and the jury’s monitor or projector. When you activate the switch, it interrupts the signal going to the jury’s monitor. When you deactivate the switch, the signal to the jury’s monitor is restored. Some switches have the ability to be remote controlled which provides the most flexibility for the attorney or trial technician. The remote control function usually permits multiple remote switches to be connected allowing multiple trial technicians or the judge to operate the switch simultaneously, for the most flexibility.
A few important considerations: It’s important to adjust the jury’s display to hide all on-screen messages, such as “no signal” or “searching for signal” or the infamous blinding “no-signal blue screen”. Also, the displays used by counsel, the judge and the witness must be turned at an angle so the jury cannot see the screens. Now you can use your presentation system most efficiently without skipping a beat…
Presentation technology helps to expedite trial. In the instances that non-admitted exhibits need to be dealt with but cannot be shown to the jury, utilizing a jury kill switch allows the momentum to continue without having to resort to tedious binders.