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Collaboration with Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University

Kerry Masterson (right) at home after eight years in prison with Andrea Lewis, an attorney from the CWC.

Kerry Masterson, who spent 8 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a 2009 murder, has been exonerated. Zehner Trial Consulting is proud to have assisted in her defense by providing pro bono mock trial and jury selection services for the retrial of her 2011 felony murder conviction. Kerry Masterson was convicted of felony murder on the basis of faulty eyewitness testimony. The following link will give you the full background of the case, appeal, and retrial.


The Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University successfully appealed her conviction based on the trial court refusing to allow expert testimony about issues with witness identification. Jonathan Quinn of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg was the lead counsel on the retrial. The trial team also included CWC's Andrea Lewis and Jonathan's colleagues Collette Brown and Eric Choi (also from Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg).

Dave Zehner and Laura Zehner of Zehner Trial Consulting provided two full mock trial research exercises to test themes and trial strategy. The key issue identified through the mock trial exercises was the need for Kerry Masterson to testify in her own defense, which she did not do in the original trial. In addition, the ZTC staff developed a juror profile that identified the types of jurors who were likely to be resistant to the defense arguments. Dave and Laura assisted the trial team with jury selection on October 27, 2017. After a week-long trial, the jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Kerry not guilty.

According to Jonathan Quinn, "Dave and Laura assisted us in the development in case themes, conducted two full-day jury research sessions and actively assisted us during jury selection, all pro bono. While I have had mixed results using jury consultants in the past, the folks at Zehner Trial Consulting were fabulous and added invaluable assistance, especially in helping to determine that Kerry should testify. "I would not hesitate to use them in the future and urge everyone to consider Zehner Trial Consulting when your clients are in need of mock trials or jury selection services."

While most cases do not have the life and death implications of a murder trial, this case demonstrates the trust our clients have in Zehner Trial Consulting's expertise in understanding juror decision making. Zehner Trial Consulting will bring that expertise to bear in helping you properly evaluate your case and bring it to its best possible resolution.

You can contact Dave Zehner at dave@zehnerjuries.com and Laura Zehner at laura@zehnerjuries.com or 312-415-1726.