Category: Criminal Defense

Bending the Rules

“Hard cases make bad law” is a tired lifeless legal cliche but it works to describe the Jared Loughner case. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. noted in Northern Securities Co. v. United States: “Great cases like hard cases make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their importance… but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment.” Exactly the sentiment which drove the plea bargain in the Loughner case.

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“We don’t recognize no f**king complaints!”

“We don’t recognize no f**king complaints!” The new motto from the same people who brought us Rodney King. If you dare complain about our misconduct you will reap the whirlwind.

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Irving Younger Part 2

Here is another fun story Irving Younger employed in his cross-examination lecture. He used it as a “one question too many” example but I think it works far better for fertile ideas when a large number is involved.

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Prosecutors on the Bench

Every day we face a hard challenge against a well-funded prosecution aided by federal agencies, state and local police departments, crime labs and other publicly funded agencies too many to mention. Add to that the public’s general support of prosecutors and the erosion of presumption of innocence, it is surprising we can win any case, no matter how innocent the defendant.

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One Question Too Many

We are all aware of the dreaded “one question too many.” It is the hubris of the trial lawyer going in for the kill and instead being killed.

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Zimmerman’s Disaster

Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, has made his first mistake, and it may be fatal to his client’s defense. George Zimmerman must defend the charges against him with self-defense. This means he must testify in his own defense. It is hard to mount a self-defense claim without the defendant testifying. But now his defense team has committed the worse possible offense– the self-inflicted wound.

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Hubbart FACDL

On Saturday May 12, 2012 I had the pleasure of presenting the FACDL life time achievement award to my former boss Phillip Hubbart. I have written of him before in this blog and I feel an obligation to tell his story and to keep his vision alive.

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The Goodman Opening

I haven’t blogged for at least three weeks because I have been fully engaged in John Goodman’s DUI manslaughter trial. But now it is time to begin anew.

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Sins of the Father…. Part 2

In my last post I criticized Justice Scalia for the last sentence of his dissent in the Maples case. “Because a faithful application of those precedents leads to the conclusion that Maples has not demonstrated cause to excuse his procedural default; and because the reasoning by which the Court justifies the opposite conclusion invites future evisceration of the principle that defendants are responsible for the mistakes of their attorneys; I respectfully dissent.”

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The Sins of the Father . . . . .

My partner Howard came rushing into my office: “Did you read the Scalia dissent?” I confessed I had no earthly idea what he was referring to so he threw it down on my desk, finger jabbing at the last line, “Read this.”

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