Category: criminal practice

  • 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 […]

  • There’s Always a Prosecutor

    Mike (Crime and Federalism) writes: I blog about prosecutorial misconduct more than anyone else. People are too busy creating Twitter norms. Because criminal lawyers should be more worried about whether some moron is duping lawyers into signing marketing contracts. (!) Fair criticism? Possibly. In the scheme of things, whether prosecutors are cheating and putting people […]

  • Business Plan: Never Lose

    Back in March (sometimes posts percolate for a few months before bubbling to the surface) Norm Pattis wrote something about about Gerry Spence that caught my attention. I recall years ago his complaining that he could not get into court. His cases kept settling. I offered him a chance to come on board in a […]

  • Trick Questions

    It doesn't matter who asks them—defense lawyers, prosecutors, cops—or whom they are asked—witnesses, the jurors themselves, defendants—jurors don't like trick questions. Getting caught asking a trick question lessens the questioner's credibility. Here's a trick question that cops sometimes ask people suspected of DWI: "On a scale of zero to ten, how intoxicated would you say […]

  • But My Way is Really Best

    For some reason, it happens in May: criminal-defense lawyers' fancies turn to . . . getting paid. This time 'round, Norm Pattis started it with Flat Fees, Black Holes, and the Value of Chaos: There are cross-cutting incentives in a flat-fee case. The client has paid for a lawyer and wants her expectations, no matter […]

  • Desert-Island Book

    Old-time West Texas judges used to travel the circuit with a single law book (and they were still better-read than most modern Texas judges. . .). If you had to preserve a single criminal-law volume so that the American criminal justice system would survive, what would you choose? If civilization were crumbling around our ears […]

  • Input Needed: Reptile in Criminal Cases

    David Ball, co-author of Reptile, is asking criminal lawyers to help him develop a list of “reasons we lose criminal defense cases.” He wants to hear from lawyers in the trenches who deal with these problems all the time.  The list will help him and his team develop the use of Reptilian advocacy for criminal […]

  • The Four Most Powerful Words in the Criminal Courthouse

    Try this: Stand up. Raise one foot off the ground. Now shift your weight forward. Don’t set your raised foot down. What happens? You fall down. But if you do the same thing and set the raised foot down  to stop your fall, you take a step. Raise the other foot off the ground, shift […]

  • Trial Lawyer Esoterica

    Bennett’s Chainsaw dictates that it will not be easy, but I love the what really happened? case—the one in which the client is innocent, but his innocence is entirely incompatible with the proof the government thinks it has. In these cases, often a thorough investigation reveals the key to the case, discrediting or clarifying some […]

  • The Mississippi of the West

    Via Simple Justice, this video of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Stoddard raiding the file of a criminal-defense lawyer while her back is turned: Notice the pathetic weak passive behavior of Judge Lisa Flores.