But it is here that Harvey Moore, owner of Trial Practices Inc., helps to plan the communication strategies for high-profile criminal cases.
Behind heavy mahogany doors are two completely furnished mock courtrooms, six jury deliberation rooms that double as office space, a focus group room that can be monitored by closed circuit video, a full video and digital animation suite, and a graphics studio.
Here the Hillsborough County Public Defender's
Office sought Moore's help in the murder trial of Valessa Robinson.
Guilty or innocent, Harvey Moore
believes every accused person deserves the best defense possible.
Not trained as a lawyer but with a doctorate in sociology, Moore
provides consulting services to public defenders, prosecutors, private and corporate lawyers throughout the United States.
Taking lessons from Harvard Business School
and Madison Avenue, Trial Practices
and other trial consulting firms such as Los Angeles-based Decision Quest
, help lawyers with strategic planning.
Planning steps used by trial consultants include case analysis, mock trials, focus groups, market attitude research, help with jury selection, advice on courtroom mannerisms and style, and the choice and production of professional videos and colorful graphics.
With a 12-member Trial Practices staff of sociologists, psychologists, criminal justice experts and technicians, Moore
works with attorneys and clients to put together what his
research tells him is the most effective way to present and win the case.
spends most of his
time on civil cases.
assisted in the defense of four Columbia/HCA executives charged with Medicare fraud.
While two of the defendants were convicted, one was acquitted and one case resulted in a hung jury.
assisted Dow Chemical attorneys in defending the corporation against nationwide lawsuits involving silicon implants.
said that Dow "never lost a case."
Like Decision Quest, Moore
can command more than $1 million for his
charges $6,500 for a six-person focus group and from $12,000 to $20,000 for a mock trial with three mock juries.
Computer graphics, videos and digital animation production fees are based hourly.
As a staunch opponent of the death penalty, Moore
consultations free to public defenders in capital crime cases.
Though Valessa Robinson was facing life in prison rather than death row, Moore
time for similar philosophical reasons.
"It's the Ray Lewises of the world who pay for the Walter Morrises," said Moore
"It's the story that counts," Moore
said about trial planning.
"It's not the grammar that makes the story great.
It's the central theme.
"In (Robinson's) case, we were asked to help because they were effectively trying to take this child's life away from her
is still not satisfied that Robinson got a fair trial even though jurors came back with a lesser conviction of third-degree murder rather than first degree murder.
is committed to the case through the sentencing and appeal process, he
In gathering his
employs citizens to play jurors in mock trials and participate in focus groups.
They are hired for about $10 an hour through classified advertisements, random telemarketing and word of mouth referrals.
Once in the Trial Practices courtroom, each "juror" is given an individual hand held computer.
This electronic juror feedback system registers positive and negative reactions during the mock trial presentations.
During the actual trial, citizens may be paid to sit in the courtroom as "shadow" jurors.
and members of his
staff may also serve as courtroom monitors.
service is no different than what people selling products do," said Barry Cohen, who is representing Steve and Marlene Aisenberg.
Neither Cohen nor Moore
would confirm or deny whether Trial Practices Inc
. has been retained to help the Aisenbergs.