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March 15, 2013

Jury by Facebook
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You may be using Facebook and Twitter without giving it much thought. But did you know your online identity is being increasingly used to decide if you are or are not suitable to serve on a jury? Then – tax time isn’t far off. And did you know there are plenty of ways to get your taxes prepared for free? We’ll tell you how. Plus, one expert says those energy drinks aren’t giving you the boost they say they are.
Episode Segments:
InfoTrak: Jury Selection through Social Media
Facebook and other social networking sites are increasingly being used by prosecutors and defense attorneys to decide who is—and who isn't—suitable to serve on a jury. Amber Yearwood, a consultant from Trial Behavior Consulting, a juror consultancy firm based in San Francisco talked about the types of information that can be gleaned about prospective jurors and how it can affect the traditional jury selection process.
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InfoTrak: Low Cost Tax Prep
A number of free and low-cost options for tax preparation and filing have become available this year, offered by both the IRS and commercial software companies. Tax attorney and blogger Kelly Erb said nearly 70% of tax filers are now eligible for free tax preparation. She explained the eligibility requirements and how to get information on the programs. She also discussed several scams related to tax preparation that have recently emerged.
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InfoTrak: The Health Effects of Energy Drinks
Dr. Steven Lipshultz, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine was the lead researcher of a study that examined the health effects of energy drinks on teenagers. The study found that though as many as 50 percent of teens report using the drinks, there is little evidence to show that they improve mental focus or physical energy levels.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Kelly Erb
Years ago, I found myself sitting in law school in Moot Court wearing an oversized itchy blue suit. It was a horrible experience. In a desperate attempt to avoid anything like that in the future I enrolled in a tax course. I loved it. I signed up for another. Before I knew it, in addition to my JD, I had a LL.M Taxation. With two graduate degrees and an internship at the Internal Revenue Service attorney’s department under my belt, I needed only to don my cape…. taxgirl ® was born. Today, I live and work in Philadelphia, PA, one of the best cities in the world (okay, our sports teams generally suck – except for the Phillies – but it’s still a great place to live). I moved to Philly from rural NC to attend Temple University School of Law. While at law school, I interned at the estates attorney division of the IRS. At IRS, I participated in the review and audit of federal estate tax returns. I even took the lead on a successful audit. At audit, opposing counsel read my report, looked at his file and said, “Gentleman, she’s exactly right.” I nearly fainted. I love to write and talk tax. I present on tax topics around the country. I’ve also been interviewed for a movie, An Inconvenient Tax, focusing on tax reform. I formerly authored a monthly tax column for The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest law journal in the US, and now am a featured blogger for AOL’s I’m also working on a book about the history of tax.

Kelly's Taxgirl Blog

Amber Watkins
Amber Watkins studied psychology with an emphasis on socio-cultural studies, and has conducted extensive pre-trial and trial research, including mock trial, focus group and shadow jury research. She is skilled in questionnaire development and both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Amber is exceptional at developing a rapport with jurors and has extensive experience conducting post-trial and shadow juror interviews. She has selected a number of juries in both civil and criminal matters and has successfully coached attorneys in voir dire, jury selection and trial strategy. Amber has worked on a wide range of cases, including complex contract, product liability, catastrophic personal injury, intellectual property and criminal trials. Amber received her B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University. She was a nationally accomplished intercollegiate debater and has coached hundreds of students in debate preparation and oral persuasion. Her competitive debate experience has proved invaluable in crafting persuasive arguments and trial themes. While studying psychology at Michigan State, she won an internship as an advocate for domestic violence survivors. As an intern, she worked with survivors to help them develop independent resource strategies and tutored other interns in interpersonal dynamics and effective communication.

Trial Behavior Consulting