Pennsylvania Has A Clear State Of Mind

As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently stated, when dealing with hearsay “[t]hings can get complicated  pretty quickly…At times, the line that divides hearsay from non-hearsay can be difficult to discern.”  Nowhere is that more true than with “state of mind” hearsay; but a great deal of clarity has been brought to the issue as a

Can We Trust Memory?

Memory – how good is it?  The law favors memory – we make witnesses tell their stories months or years after an event but preclude use of their diaries or memos to the file.  And memory reliability gets ‘politicized‘ – those who prosecute often default in favor of trusting memories long after the event, while

“Trumpian” Forensics

The waning days of the Trump administration saw a fervid, if not frenzied, rush to put out policy statement or decisions meant to tie the hands of the Biden administration, including declaring Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, labeling a Yemeni group a terrorist organization, recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over parts of the Sahara, allowing oil


Rarely is a cross-examination limited to an attack on credibility – there are often multiple goals which may include eliciting positive/supportive facts and ultimately telling or reinforcing the ‘story’ the witness’ examiner is presenting. The recognition of multiple goals of cross-examination is nothing new.  Despite early emphasis on cross-examination as being needed to expose “mendacity,”


The below advice was developed for a lecture to Temple trial team members as work to ‘up our game’ in various aspects of courtroom advocacy.  The advice, with minimal modification, is also useful for practicing attorneys.   Why concentrate on the opening statement? It is where we are judged first, and our performance shapes how