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“What was that, again?” Instructing a Jury in Plain English

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Program Materials: Judges must login to download program materials or contact us to request a copy by email.
 

This two-hour evening program for new and experienced Massachusetts judges will demonstrate how to use plain English in jury instructions. With the help of Appeals Court Justice Gabrielle R. Wolohojian and Northeastern University Linguistics Professor Janet H. Randall, this program will offer:

  • An introduction to the Plain English Jury Instruction Project
  • An overview of research done to test comprehension of traditional instructions and those written in plain English
  • Lessons learned from that research, including what aids juror comprehension
  • A demonstration of how a linguist would re-write an instruction in order to make it more easily understood
  • A hands-on exercise for judges to revise an instruction using plain English