Category: Trial

  • The Anthony Graves Retrial Pregame Show

    In Anthony Graves’s first trial, prosecutor Charles Sebesta had to cheat to win, hiding exculpatory evidence and eliciting perjured testimony (Graves v. Dretke, Fifth Circuit opinion, PDF on Scribd). Now, not only has the evidence that Sebesta suppressed in violation of Brady v. Maryland been revealed so that the next prosecutor trying the case can’t […]

  • Roeder, Padilla, Terry, Mohammed Part 1:Roeder

    On April 16th, 1995 (three days before the highly-significant-to-militias April 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing and the burning of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco), Scott Roeder was arrested with bomb-making materials. Roeder claimed association with the “Freemen” movement, yet another batch of personal sovereignty kooks. On May 31, 2009, Scott Roeder shot […]

  • Read This Today

    In this morning’s Houston Chronicle, criminal-defense lawyer (and HCCLA ex-president, and former U.S. Navy officer) Pat McCann asks, Since When are Americans Afraid of Trials? Those who are caught in the act of a crime or afterward and can be prosecuted in our justice system, however, should be prosecuted. There is no simpler way to […]

  • 16 Simple Rules, All Together

    The American Society of Trial Consultants has published my Sixteen Simple Rules for Better Jury Selection in its online newsletter, The Jury Expert, along with responses from several jury consultants. Read the rules and responses here.

  • 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 […]

  • They Skipped Those Days in Sunday School

    From Birmingham, Alabama: Court officials say a Birmingham woman who changed her name to Jesus Christ didn’t live up to it when she reported for jury duty this week. The woman, previously named Dorothy Lola Killingworth, was sent to Judge Clyde Jones’s courtroom for a criminal case Monday. Court officials told The Birmingham News Tuesday […]

  • Meet Your Next Jury Panel

    Jeff Gamso writes about birthers, (political) teabaggers, truthers, Flat-Earthers, alien abductees, and other unshakeable believers in alternate realities (21% of New Jerseyites surveyed weren’t sure that Barack Obama is not the Anti-Christ). What set Jeff off is that Arlington, Tennessee Mayor Russell Wiseman is one of these nutjobs. What sets me off is that lots […]

  • Case Oddity

    Here’s a picture from Harris County’s 263rd District Court yesterday. The prosecutors trying a murder (?) case had laid down a blue tape outline of the dead person’s body, chalk-outline style, early in the trial: When I saw this, my first reaction was: awesome! (coincidentally, that was my nine-year-old’s reaction as well). The prosecutors, Brad […]

  • Recharging

    I spent the weekend in trial mode, preparing for a DWI trial in Montgomery County, north of Houston. This would’ve been only my second trial in a slow year for jury trials (the first ended in an acquittal; several others have been dismissed on the eve of trial) and my client’s career was at stake, […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 16: The Herd Rule

    The last rule for right now (it is an evolving list). . . . I’ve talked about how the jury panel is a group and the jury is a group. Why? Because people like to be in groups. Most people will, given a choice between being in a big group and being in a small […]