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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Cross-examination Preparation

Written by Roy Black

No matter the system of justice, an advocate is only as good as his preparation — especially when it comes to cross-examination. I follow a good cross-examination no matter where it occurs. I enjoyed dissecting the over-the-top Gerry Nel cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius in his notorious South African murder trial. Now comes another international trial, […]

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Law Without Walls

Written by Roy Black

I was invited by Michelle DeStefano, through Georgie Angones (Ms. Everything-at-the-school), to participate in the strangely worded “ConPosium” which is the final stage of the Law Without Walls competition. I walked into the Newman Alumni Center at 8 am on a Sunday, not knowing quite what to expect, and I was surprised by the room. […]

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“How can you represent those people?”

Written by Roy Black

The classic crack made at many a cocktail party. Every defense lawyer suffers through the ordeal of offering a dissatisfying response (at least to the tormentor) to this barely concealed insult. I have no intention of dragging out the usual suspects, but rather I want, for a change, to ask the question myself. Not for […]

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Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast

Written by Roy Black

“What am I on trial for, gentlemen of the jury? . . . I am not on trial for having sought to bribe a man named Lockwood. . . . I am on trial because I have been a lover of the poor, a friend of the oppressed, because I have stood by labor for all these years, and have brought down on my head the wrath of the criminal interests in this country. Whether guilty or innocent of the crime charged in the indictment, that is the reason I am here, and that is the reason that I have been pursued by as cruel a gang as ever followed a man.”
Clarence Darrow’s closing argument in his first Los Angeles bribery trial, August 14, 1912

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Failure is an Option

Written by Roy Black

Some days cross-examination doesn’t work. No matter how well planned, no matter how well the strategy executed, nor how tight the questions, the witness beats us. One particularly insidious type is the witness with an agenda. They won’t follow the rules and simply answer the question. They volunteer their personal agenda whenever possible. It is […]

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F. Lee Bailey

Written by Roy Black

Representing the damned is damn hard enough, but then this life rewards you with a swift uppercut to the stomach. This is one reason why I am an existentialist. The most depressing legal ruling of 2014 (and the list is long) proves this point. The Maine Supreme Court issued a 59 page screed denying Lee Bailey’s re-admission to the bar, this is on the scale of throwing LeBron out of the NBA. Unless a deus ex machina miraculously descends his legendary career as a trial lawyer is over

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FIU Cross-Examination Seminar

Written by Roy Black

On Friday, December 12, 2014, I will be teaching a seminar on cross-examination at the FIU Law School. The seminar has been organized by H.T. Smith and Scott Fingerhut. I have attached the materials I drafted for the seminar.

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Carr & Emory

Written by Roy Black

I recently was a judge in the UM moot court competition. While walking down the corridor to the faculty lounge I noticed a the class picture of the first graduating class in 1929 and was jolted to see a very young Henry R. Carr. His picture brought back memories of my public defender days.

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Ted Olson

Written by Roy Black

This past Sunday (11/16/14), I had the privilege of introducing Ted Olson for the first lecture panel at this year’s Miami Book Fair. Ted and his wife Lady, along with two of the plaintiffs, Chris Perry and Sandy Stier, were on the panel. The subject was the intense five years of litigation leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision to rule California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

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