Chapter 4, the Tao of Criminal Defense Trial Lawyering


I haven’t posted in a few days because I went from having family in town and celebrating my son’s fourth birthday, to preparing for a resisting arrest trial, to installing Leopard. What better way to get back into the flow than another exploration of the Tao? Here’s Chapter 4; as usual, I’m using the Mitchell version:

The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities.

Trying cases mindfully is like drinking from a well: every time we do so, we draw upon new reserves of fresh ability / insight / power. If we stop doing it, though, we might stagnate.
There is no one right way. There are an infinite number of ways to try cases. But the way to try cases is not just to have a collection of techniques, but to have an attitude that is open to the use of any technique.

We went to the Bayou City Art Festival a few weeks ago, and there was an artist there who would make puppets from photographs — send him a photo of a person and some money (lots of money) and he’ll send you a puppet of the person. I thought, “some day maybe I’ll use puppets like those to tell a client’s story.”
Anything is possible. The only limit is your imagination. I talked here (among other places) about the childlike mind; the childlike mind is an empty vessel; it contains all possibilities.

It is hidden but always present.
I don’t know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.

Your way to try cases is always with you. You don’t need anyone else to tell you how you should do things, but only to help you discover it. Some people might lay claim to “ways” of trying cases or “systems” or “methods”. You can, they say, learn to win “their” way. While you can undoubtedly learn something from them (you can discover better ways to try cases from anyone and anything), it’s not really their way they’re teaching you; it existed before they did.
If you try to try things someone else’s way you invite mediocrity.

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