Category: advocacy

  • Never Argue Angry

    I’ve got a case against a likely-soon-to-be-former member of the Smith County, Texas District Attorney’s Office in which I’m challenging the constitutionality of Texas’s revenge-porn statute, section 21.16(b) of the Texas Penal Code. It is one of several such appeals I have pending. I’ve had oral argument in the Waco Court of Appeals (not recorded) […]

  • Theory: Direct or Indirect Criminal Trial Advocacy

    In hypnosis, there are two basic styles of inducing trance: the direct, or “authoritarian” style, and the indirect, or “Ericksonian” (named after Milton Erickson) style. The direct: “Close your eyes.” The indirect: “You might find yourself wondering whether you can go into trance, and thinking about your doubts you might discover a time when you could […]

  • Thanks, Snake

    "Watch this, Mark. I'm going to lie to the judge just to show you that I can." That's not exactly what she said. This morning The Snake was seeking a delay of the trial (set next Monday) of a case in which she's prosecuting a client of mine. This was her second motion for a […]

  • Means and Ends

    New second-career criminal-defense lawyer desperately in need of a mentor Joe Attorney writes: [Reptile] is not a technique I could comfortably embrace.  It suggests we should manipulate the more primitive emotions and parts of the brain to gain the desired result.  To me it suggests that lawyers should worry more about ends than the means. […]

  • More on Submission in Federal Criminal Court

    From a civilian’s comment on this post about “John R.,” the anonymous Rochester, New York personal injury lawyer who dabbles in criminal defense and scoffs at the Bill of Rights: I understand John R.’s position as it relates to United States of America jurisprudence. The legal system is heavily stacked in favor of the government […]

  • The Ethics of Pathos, Part II

    In The Ethics of Pathos, Part I I discussed Walter Olson’s ethical question, “Should lawyers trying cases make an appeal to jurors’ reptile brains?” While writing that post I came to the conclusion that it’s not unethical to use even the darkest of persuasive arts (I’m a student of hypnosis and other trial technologies) to […]

  • The Ethics of Pathos, Part I

    Over at Overlawyered Walter Olson asks, “Should lawyers trying cases make an appeal to jurors’ ‘reptile brains’?” In writing about Reptile Trials in Lizards Don’t Laugh, I hadn’t even considered this question. If Walter’s were a practical “should” question—”will it sometimes benefit clients for lawyers trying cases to appeal to jurors’ reptile brains?”—then the answer […]

  • The Importance of “Make People Afraid”

    I said yesterday that what’s important about the Chronicle writing that Kelly Siegler admonished other lawyers to “make people afraid” is that jurors know about it. Why? Because I think people are much less likely to be manipulated if they know that someone is going to be trying to manipulate them. If a prosecutor gets […]