Another Great Moment in Trial Advocacy


I had just explained to the jury all the reasons that the government’s star witness couldn’t be believed (based on his criminal history): he’s a thief, and thieves lie; he’s a robber, and robbers lie; he’s an organized criminal, and organized criminals lie; etc.

Government lawyer Connie Spence gets up for her closing argument. “You know who else lies?”, she screeches.

“LAWYERS lie!”

And she writes the word LAWYERS in big red letters on the flip pad.

I went back to the courtroom today to get that page from the flip pad. I’m going to get it framed and hang it in my office, and every time I look at it I’m going to laugh.


20 responses to “Another Great Moment in Trial Advocacy”

  1. Mark Yanis,

    Bennett’s client is a former lawyer. I think we can assume she was saying lawyers lie and talking about the defendant.

    I agree; if lawyers lie, and you are a lawyer . . . Hmmmm. . . I can’t believe a word of your argument!

  2. Congratulations on your win. Are you going to continue to represent him in his other cases? I’d enjoy coming down to whichever courthouse and observing you in action.

  3. Any juror comments on that? H’mm. I guess the prosecutor does not consider herself a lawyer. Or was she admitting that she lies? Wow, how great that she got screaming mad!

    Mark, did your client testify?

    I want hear more about how you pulled off this miracle.

  4. And the judge is also a lawyer.

    What did he say?

    I assume you’re appealing on grounds of prosecutorial abuse and misconduct (as suggested by Mr. Yanis) – especially if the judge ignored it – which, I guess he did (because you don’t mention a contempt finding) – such that the prosecutor’s fault has been compounded by misdirection (by omission).

    Before framing this priceless page from the flip pad you’ll have to file it as a production in your appeal – that’s if your lad was convicted of course.

    You can call the rogue prosecutor as a defence witness to speak to its authenticity as part of your appeal. Don’t agree that this is a sample of her handwriting. She’ll enjoy that.

    And will your client be complaining to her professional body – for bringing your (our) profession into disrepute? Hey, an upset football coach wouldn’t be allowed to pull this kind of stunt without consequences.

  5. She goes to the board, which was facing the jury and you couldn’t see, writes Lawyers and says, “You know who else lies? pointing to her written word, Lawyer’s Lie!” Mark, you get up like you’re going to climb over the judge’s bench to get that objection heard.

  6. Lewis Kennedy,

    Mark can’t appeal the case, because he won.

    I gotta admit that I thought Mark had an uphill battle based on what I knew about the case. That’s some good trial-lawyerin’, my friend.

    Congrats!

  7. Congrats on the win!!
    Just a practice note, I believe another objection to this would be “striking at the defendant over the shoulders of counsel.” I learned that from a great trial lawyer who once objected with “Objection, Judge–my shoulders are getting sore!” because he couldn’t remember the actual wording.
    I agree, though, that there would be a prosecutorial misconduct argument as well. And, yes, since lawyers lie, and the prosecutor’s a lawyer and is also the one who’s brought the charges in the first place and who has the burden of proof….hmmmm…maybe the jurors were quite astute.

  8. 🙂 It also would have been great to jump up and yell back, “Speak for yourself!” All’s well that ends well; congrats again on the win!!

  9. Lori: That’s the objection I would want to have been quick enough to make. But they usually come to me when I am away at night afterward.

  10. One time in a federal drug case, a fellow attorney argued government overreaching and entrapment to which the federal prosecutor responded, “He’s paid to say that.” Objection sustained, instruction to disregard granted, mistrial denied. 5th Circuit says harmless error. “Lawyers lie” vs “”Paid to say that”–I wonder if any appellate court would ever reverse on such a basis….

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