THE DEFENDER

The words still resonate – “I don’t want a Public Defender, I want a real lawyer.”  They underpinned the backhanded compliment of “hey PD, you’re good.  You should go to law school.”  But it has been the case for decades that a person accused of a crime – adult or juvenile – was better off

ASSERTION AND HEARSAY

Hearsay.  A simple word, one misunderstood by lawyers and many judges.  To some, repetition of words (or even sounds) is automatically hearsay, a clearly over-inclusive approach; to others, the view is under-inclusive, failing to recognize some words as having assertive quality. Hearsay scholarship is extraordinarily varied, but little has started off from the point addressed

BIASED TRIALS

A book titled “Biased Trials” will invariably draw the attention of those who take courtroom advocacy seriously, who teach advocacy, or are driven by concerns over disparate treatment.  This was a ‘moth to the candle’ attraction.  But this book is more than what a trial lawyer needs.  It is a study in behavioral economics, a

THE ART AND SCIENCE OF VOIR DIRE: EMPIRICAL RESEARCH, ANECDOTAL LESSONS FROM THE MASTERS, AND ILLUSTRATIONS SUPPORTING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF VOIR DIRE

As with Irving Younger’s “10 Commandments of Cross-Examination,” there are wise rules for other processes occurring before or during trial.  This article posits “10 Commandments” for jury selection: Be personable and professional Personalize client and self Eliminate barriers Escalate gradually Use open-ended questions Initiate a group discussion Use disclosure to obtain disclosure Avoid blue-sky questions

DIY COURTROOM DEMONSTRATIVES: AN INVALUABLE GUIDE

There are certain essential tools for learning how to best design a courtroom presentation, particularly powerpoint.  Think of PRESENTATION ZEN by Garr Reynolds, a map through the art of making less do more.  Reynolds taught simplicity, visuals over words, and story-telling; and in doing so inspired tributes like this one – How PRESENTATION ZEN fixed

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