The Legal Investigator The Legal Investigator (Vol 38, Issue 2, Summer 2013) : Page 4

civil focus by Inese A. Neiders, Ph.D., J.D. Jury Selection “ for Jurors who have not invited people with an intellectual disability to their homes with their friends, and persons who have made efforts to exclude mentally retarded persons from their neighborhoods are likely to discriminate against your client in deliberations. Intellectual Disabilities / Mental Retardation People with intellectual disabilities are highly stigmatized by a large proportion of the public. Academics who have studied newspaper coverage of disability issues are warning that negative media coverage may cause an increase in unsympathetic attitudes towards people with these disabilities. This is of significance for any trial involving a client with an intellectual disability. In recent studies, some of the adjective pairs used to distinguish between attitudes toward normal people and persons with intellectual disabilities are strong-weak, healthy-sick, superior-inferior, sane-insane, educated-ignorant, useful-not useful, neat-untidy, moral-immoral, passive-aggressive, clean-dirty, safe-dangerous, honest-dishonest, and kind-cruel. If jurors perceive your client in a negative manner on one or a number of these adjective pairs, those jurors could easily be more ready to convict your client, especially in cases involving violence, sexual matters, and matters involving financial crimes such as welfare fraud. Inquiry into the stereotypes that apply to your client is critical for your case. Besides questions related to these pairs of adjectives, another area of inquiry is social distance. Social distance is often used to describe attitudes towards stigmatized groups as the “degree of sympathetic understanding” between individuals or groups. Physical or geographic proximity does not necessarily indicate a sympathetic relationship between individuals or groups. For example, two neighbors degree of Clients with 4 the legal investigator

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