Author Archives: Roy Black

2016 American Heart Association Heart Walk

My Firm and I have committed to support this year’s American Heart Association Heart Walk. Why? Because I like to be an advocate. That’s what I do.

The First Minute: Night

I can not exaggerate the power of the opening, the first minute, even the first sentence, of a speech. The speaker must capture the attention of the audience. If not they drift off into their own world and tune you out. How do you grab by the throat and make them listen?

A Tale of Two Cities

New York, April 30, 2016. Renee Hill represents one of nine current or former Rikers Island prison guards charged with viciously beating an inmate. Jahmal Lightfoot, the former inmate, is the star witness against the guards. Lightfoot testified that these guards mercilessly punched, kicked and stomped on him with boots that felt “like a brick.”

Ghomeshi: The Letter

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.

Ghomeshi: Witness #3

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.

Jian Ghomeshi: Cross-examination #1

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.

What Makes a Hero?

“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.

Mob Justice in Baltimore

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.

Cross-Examination: Try to Leave Before Redirect

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.

David Rosen

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.