Ghomeshi: The Letter

Written by Roy Black

Once in rare while we come across a piece of advocacy which seems almost perfect. This is hard to accomplish in cross examination because your “partner” is hostile and seeks to thwart you at every turn. This is especially true in a sex crimes case because they are so freighted with emotion. The accuser can be highly agitated and the cross-examininer can easily lose control. It rarely goes as scripted.

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Ghomeshi: Witness #3

Written by Roy Black

After the DeCoutre Disaster the Crown called to the witness box a woman publicly identified only as complaint #3. If the Crown thought she would bring their case back from the dead, they were sorely mistaken.

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Jian Ghomeshi: Cross-examination #1

Written by Roy Black

I enjoy following trials and dissecting cross-examinations. An outstanding example of confrontation is currently proceeding in Canada. Jian Ghomeshi is the celebrity defendant in the Canadian “Trial of the Century.” He is being defended by Marie Henein, a protege of the late Eddie Greenspan, who was Canada’s best known criminal lawyer.

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What Makes a Hero?

Written by Roy Black

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Mob Justice in Baltimore

Written by Roy Black

Few animals are as dangerous as a lynch mob. Pitchforks and torches, or slogans and signs, the effect is the same; taking justice into their own hands.

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Cross-Examination: Try to Leave Before Redirect

Written by Roy Black

I hate redirect. Any form of rebuttal can be deadly but redirect under the federal rules is pure torture. A brilliant cross-examination can be entirely unwound with an effective redirect, especially when denied the chance to respond.

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David Rosen

Written by Roy Black

David Rosen died as he lived, with little fanfare. He passed on October 3, 2015, yet I didn’t know it until I read his obituary this morning.

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The Slippery Slope of Waiving Rights

Written by Roy Black

I read in the New York Times that Eli Cherkasky, an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan DA public corruption unit, was adjudged guilty of third-degree assault, criminal obstruction of breathing and second-degree harassment, all misdemeanors. He had a fight with a woman during a drunken argument at a bar on Halloween night in 2014. He waived his right to a jury trial.

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Cross: The deadly “Why”

Written by Roy Black

“Cross-examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth. You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it. A lawyer can do anything with cross-examination if he is skillful enough not the impale his own cause upon it.” – JOHN HENRY WIGMORE It is hard to explain the principles […]

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Vincent Bugliosi: The Legacy

Written by Roy Black

Vince Bugliosi, who first achieved fame as the Manson Family prosecutor and then as a first rate author, died June 6, 2015. His true legacy is the books he left behind. Too obsessive and detailed for the casual reader but perfect for us. The Lee Bailey, Gerry Spence and Bugliosi trial-centric books are major sources […]

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