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Philadelphia Bar Association

Topcap Invite

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

4:30 PM

Philadelphia Bar Association
11th Floor Conference Center
1101 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107


Registration Info:
4:00 PM

4:30 PM - 6:30 PM


Network at the wine and cheese reception immediately following the CLE program.

Featured Speaker:

Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Ph.D.
Author, Chicago Review Press
Consulting Historian

About the speaker:
Emilie L. Lucchesi, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in communication from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her academic publications and presentations have focused on the communication of stigma; media frames; and persuasion. Her work on the communication of stigma has also appeared in the New York Times. Ms. Lucchesi's book, Ugly Prey: An Innocent Woman and the Death Sentence that Scandalized Jazz Age Chicago, recounts the wrongful conviction of Sabella Nitti, a Barese immigrant.

TODAY - Examining "Ugly Prey:" Constructed and Communicated Stereotypes and the Impact of Bias on Juries

CLE_Ugly Prey: Constructed and Communicated Stereotypes...

Co-hosted and presented with the Justinian Society of Philadelphia

The objective of the CLE is to examine how clients can be wrongfully subjected to discrimination. In this program, featured speaker, Emilie L. Lucchesi, Ph.D., introduces how stereotypes are constructed and communicated, and uses two case studies to demonstrate the profound impact such bias has on juries.


  • Considering the current cultural climate and how clients are subject to jury bias.
  • Explanation of how stereotypes are constructed and communicated.
  • In-depth discussion as to how stereotypes are communicated in the news media and why
    people rely cognitively on such prefabricated ideas and images. Stereotypes can be based in bias but they are also mental shortcuts in which people unconsciously rely.

Historical Hypotheticals
In 1923, Sabella Nitti was an immigrant from Bari arrested for the murder of her missing husband. The Chicago lawmen pursued her despite a lack of evidence, motive, or corpus delicti.

This case study will examine how a team of six Italian American attorneys picked up the case on appeal. Defense attorney Helen Cirese actively worked to change the foreign woman's appearance and mannerisms. In doing so, she gauged how her client created cognitive dissonance within the jury and sought to remove the unfamiliarity.

Modern challenges and hypothetical
This section examines how modern media normalizes and confirms stereotypes that are harmful to clients.

Case study: Michael Waithe, native of Barbados, wrongly convicted by a jury in 1987 for burglary. There was no evidence linking him to the crime. Victim later admitted she named him as one of the suspects as revenge. He served 18 months in prison. In 2011, his immigration troubles began when he attempted to return from a wedding in Barbados.

Modern solutions

  • Voir dire: Gauging the media affirmations for stereotypes.
  • Analyzing your client's cognitive dissonance factor and strategizing accordingly.
  • Tools for responding to fear appeals by the prosecution.
  • Attendees will have a firm understanding of how stereotypes are communicated and leave with strategies for prepping the client; conducting voir dire; and responding to prosecutors’ fear appeals.

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