Bulldogging in Miami

Written by Roy Black

Naturally I read the legal commentary following Nel’s cross of Pistorius. Most lawyers were critical, labeling Nel’s sarcasm and bullying as argumentative and thus objectionable in a US court. While I generally agree with those observations, it appears there is a place for bulldogging.

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Be Like LeBron

Written by Roy Black

Last night I watched the Miami Heat crush the Indiana pacers to win the Eastern Conference Finals. This victory was notable for two reasons: the Pacers were designed to beat the Heat and their defense specifically created to stop LeBron James.

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Risky Business

Written by Roy Black

At the last NBA All-Star game SAP unveiled a player-efficiency software program called SportVU. It records every movement of a player during a game. It plots 792,000 data points — shooting, rebounding, defensive efficiency, spacing on the court, speed, and dribbling. By crunching these numbers it predicts the most effective combination of players and reduces the coach’s risk.

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The “Bull Dog” Cross

Written by Roy Black

In the beginning I had little interest in the Oscar Pistorius trial; only after reading descriptions of Gerrie “The Bull Dog” Nel’s cross-examination of Pistorius (OP) did I pay attention. The skill of cross examination is something I am intensely interested in and Nel failed to disappoint me. I could teach a seminar using his technique.

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The Lament of Zachary Warren

Written by Roy Black

Zachary Warren was a master of the universe. At least the legal universe. At 29 a Stanford degree, a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown Law School, a clerkship at the Sixth Circuit and a job at the Wall Street titan Dewey & LeBoeuf. But this legal prodigy made a bonehead mistake any grizzled veteran of the criminal bar educated at a third rate law school would have prevented. He talked to a prosecutor without a lawyer.

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Cross Examination: The Sympathetic Yet Deadly Witness

Written by Roy Black

The challenge – how to cross examine, impeach or even just diminish the impact of sympathetic witnesses without losing your audience?

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Richard Sharpstein: A Tape Surfaces

Written by Roy Black

In my post about Richard’s particular skill in presenting final arguments, I lamented there was no video tape of his courtroom performances. Fortunately I was partially wrong: Dore Louis, an excellent criminal defense lawyer and friend, emailed me an audio clip of a Sharpstein final argument.

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Richard A. Sharpstein 1950-2013

Written by Roy Black

Miami has lost an outspoken lawyer-public citizen. This past December, my friend and colleague Richard Sharpstein died by his own hand. If you knew Richard you knew he was part criminal lawyer, part social commentator and all showman.

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Final Argument: Rebutting “Commonsense”

Written by Roy Black

At least 311 innocent people were condemned by “commonsense.” There are probably a lot more languishing in our dungeons, but at least that many convicted inmates have been exonerated through DNA. I bet in each one of those trials the prosecutor told the jury to use their “god-given commonsense” to fill in any gaps in the evidence and convict the accused.

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The Marchman Act: Mastering a New Area of the Law

Written by Marcos Beaton

A client recently came to us with a problem that we had never handled before. He was facing a Marchman Act petition under Chapter 397 of the Florida Statutes. For those that don’t know, Chapter 397 authorizes involuntary evaluation and treatment for substance abuse. And although we specialize in protecting clients from encroachment on their constitutional rights and freedoms, this case involved having to master an area of the law with which we had only — at best — a vague familiarity. So, how did we do it and what did we learn?

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