COUNTER THE COUNTERSTORY: NARRATIVE APPROACHES TO NARRATIVES,

Stories inform, reinforce and ultimately control beliefs; and beliefs inform how stories are heard and valued.  In a society with advantaged and disadvantaged groups, the predominant narrative generally favors those with power.  To rectify that, a counter-story with particular persuasiveness must be crafted and communicated. But counter-stories are not always the last word.  The advantaged

Appropriating Women’s Thoughts: The Admissibility of Sexual Fantasies and Dreams Under the Consent Exception to Rape Shield Laws

This Article examines the admissibility of women’s sexual fantasies and dreams under the consent exception, traces its origins, highlights its application, argues that sexual fantasies and dreams should not be admissible under the consent exception, and proposes a practical solution to address this problem.

GUILTY PEOPLE

Wrongful convictions; eyewitness error; DNA exonerations.  These are the exciting and popularly-acclaimed aspects of criminal defense – preventing or correcting the error of someone being wrongfully accused or imprisoned for an act that never occurred or was committed by someone else.  But focusing on those cases ignores the primary role invoked by the Sixth Amendment

ADVOCACY EXCELLENCE (NOT QUITE)

There was much to look forward to when a new textbook on trial advocacy, by two experienced women lawyers,  was released:  new voices, more prominence for women advocates, and [hopefully] the latest in multi-disciplinary insights to teaching and performing the art of litigation.  And the promotional material for Camille Abate’s and Kathleen Mullin’s ADVOCACY EXCELLENCE

ARTICLE: Mise en Scène and the Decisive Moment of Visual Legal Rhetoric

The French phrase “mise en scene” translates to a: the arrangement of actors and scenery on a stage for a theatrical production b : stage setting 2a : the physical setting of an action (as of a narrative or a motion picture) : context https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mise-en-sc%C3%A8ne In this important article, Professor Michael Murray uses the 15

Your Bias Is Rubbing Off on Me: The Impact of Pretrial Publicity and Jury Type on Guilt Decisions, Trial Evidence Interpretation, and Impression Formation

Does pre-trial publicity have a lasting effect on juror bias, predisposition, and verdict votes?  The answer, according to this study, is “yes,” at least sometimes.  More importantly, judicial inquiries of “can you put that outside of your mind” and judicial admonishments to “decide this case on the facts, and not on anything you read or

THEATER AND FILM TECHNIQUES, PERSUASION AND COURTROOM CHOREOGRAPHY

Lawyers must be persuaders, and to persuade they must tell and show stories.  Keith Belzer, an exceptionally gifted lawyer and trainer, details how lawyers may and should use techniques from theater and film – particularly in ‘staging’ the courtroom and using and manipulating space – to most effectively communicate the story of the case.

“WERE THEY LYING?” QUESTIONS: A PRACTITIONER’S LOOK AT THE CALIFORNIA RULE VERSUS THE FEDERAL RULE,

When is it permissible for a lawyer questioning a witness to ask that person whether a previous witness or someone whose out-of-court statement was admitted was lying?  This article confirms that the basic approach, especially for federal court trials, is “never.”  It also shows that California may recognize limited exceptions to the general proscription. This