Category: Criminal Defense

Cross Examining McQueary: Part 2

Since my last post on McQueary, Joe Paterno gave a press interview to Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post. According to the reporter, Paterno said that McQueary sat at Paterno’s kitchen table and told him about hearing noises coming from the shower late the evening before. “He was very upset and I asked why, and he was very reluctant to get into it. He told me what he saw, and I said, what? He said it, well, looked inappropriate, or fondling, I’m not quite sure exactly how he put it.” He went on to say that McQueary was unclear about the nature of what he saw.

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The Federal Cooperation Scheme

The Sunday Miami Herald had a page-one story on the Scott Rothstein criminal enterprise. While most of the scandalous events have been publicized by now, one quote caught my attention. Former US Attorney Jeffrey Sloman, in response to the cacophony surrounding Rothstein’s lack of credibility, is quoted as saying “some of the most despicable people have been great witnesses.” Jeff’s observation goes right to the heart of the cooperation flaw in our justice system.

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Cross-examining the Cooperating Witness (Part 1)

As some of you know, I like to have concrete examples to use in illustrating and discussing the arts of trial advocacy. I don’t think anyone can learn them from abstract lectures. So when I come across a good example, it gets me motivated. A beautiful set of examples of cross-examining the cooperating witness comes from the New York State trial of James W. Marguilies, an Ohio lawyer indicted for a pump and dump scheme.

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Conrad Murray: The Sentencing (Part 2)

It is hard to sit back and watch fumbling lawyers allow an injustice to occur. I felt sick listening to the judge’s rant at the sentencing hearing. Not that I don’t think that Murray didn’t deserve a good part of it, but one critical point was entirely unfair. The judge made a unwarranted personal finding that Murray intended to blackmail Michael Jackson with the cell phone recording without even asking for the lawyers to comment on it. He made the finding without checking to see if there was any evidence to either support or contradict his personal belief. This violates due process of law.

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Conrad Murray: The Sentencing

The hearing started with the attorneys making their pitches for the sentence. Both were fairly understated. Not much advocacy. They were almost quiet. The prosecution made much of the documentary Murray made right before the end of the trial. I guess he needed the money, but it certainly hurt him at the sentencing since both the judge and the prosecutor battered him over it.

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Conrad Murray: The 100 Million Dollar Man

It is reported that the prosecutors are asking for a four-year sentence, the maximum for involuntary manslaughter in California. In addition to the prison term, the prosecutors wrote, Murray should be ordered to pay as restitution to Jackson’s estate the $100 million the singer would have earned from the comeback concerts, and $1.8 million in memorial service and funeral costs.

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Dr. Phil’s Autopsy

I recently wrote a piece on the Rebecca Zahau case for the Huffington Post. You can find it here. It was a follow-up to an another article I wrote for the Daily Beast. You can find it here. Since my first article, the case has reached the highest levels of tabloid fame. Her death was tragic enough, but I find it more than a little ghoulish to dig up Rebecca’s body for the Dr. Phil reality show.

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Conrad Murray: Final Argument (Part 4)

The last phase of the final arguments I am interested in is the prosecution rebuttal. Many prosecutors don’t specifically prepare for the rebuttal and lose one of their greatest advantages. They have been given the priceless gift of primacy and recency yet many fail to take advantage. Unfortunately for Conrad Murray his prosecutor, David Walgren, is not one of these incompetents.

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Conrad Murray: Final Argument (Part 2)

The children.

Prosecutor David Walgren employed a clever method of humanizing Michael Jackson by describing the pain of his death through the eyes of his children. I was surprised to see a state prosecutor sophisticated enough to use this angle. I don’t think that Jackson himself would appeal the same to the jurors. While Walgren was able to mount this argument without any objection from Murray’s sleeping legal team it was clearly an improper appeal to the juror’s emotions.

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Conrad Murray: The Final Arguments (Part 1)

There is a lot of material to go through so I am breaking it up into the parts I think important. I am starting right at the beginning with Walgren’s first few minutes. I believe this time is critical to get the jury’s attention and get them motivated.

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