Targeting Jury's 'Reptile' Brains Not Enough For Mistrial

Law360 (November 7, 2019, 8:07 PM EST) -- A Massachusetts judge correctly found that the attorney for a woman who broke a tooth on a Wendy’s hamburger improperly appealed to the jury's “reptile” brains in his closing remarks, a state appellate panel ruled Thursday. But the judge went too far by ordering a new trial after the jury returned its verdict.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court said Superior Court of Suffolk County Justice Heidi E. Brieger applied the wrong standard when she ordered a new trial over the closing remarks from Meaghan Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Matthew Fogelman. Justice Brieger found that the attorney played on jurors' primitive fears, passions and prejudices...

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