Category: Evidence

Final Argument: Electronic Presentations

Modern juries, spoiled by TV and CSI, want to see the evidence not just listen to a talking head describing it. This link takes you to a creation (not a recreation) of the prosecution’s final argument in the Oklahoma City bombing case. I call it a creation because it doesn’t attempt to duplicate the actual argument but instead it presents the damning web of circumstantial evidence through a quite compelling video presentation. Proof we are only limited by our imagination in delivering a story through graphics.

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Business Records

The last project I gave my law class this semester required them to master the business records rule. Each student had to introduce a telephone toll record into evidence. I impressed on them that no one passed the class without being able to efficiently and crisply use the rule. It is not just a matter […]

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Impeachment

I have been the fortunate recipient of many delicious pieces of impeachment in my career as a defense lawyer. The latest was in John Goodman’s trial.

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Relevance

Relevance is one of those concepts most trial lawyers take for granted. They feel no reason to examine the rules because the concept is self-evident, isn’t it? Not a chance. They are missing out on a big advantage. Relevancy is the most pervasive concept in evidence law. It carries great advantages for both direct examination […]

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What’s in a Name?

Labels can be misleading. When Juliet says the Montague name isn’t important to her, she means what matters is what something is, not what it is called. In more modern times we slap labels on politicians — left-winger, conservative, liberal, reactionary — in order to distort and deliberately oversimplify each other’s beliefs.

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Casey: The 403 Strategy

I am not obsessively into the Casey Anthony trial as many people are; I have my own cases to work on, but interesting evidentiary issues keep popping up. This happens in hotly contested trials like this because the lawyers are pushing every advantage. Just a small edge can win a trial. But it also can lose a trial.

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The 403 Balancing Test

This weekend I wrote a piece on the Casey Anthony prosecutors using an animated video which opened with Caylee as a beatific child and then slowly morphed her face into the skull found in the woods. An ugly and brutal exhibit. One which, in my opinion, did not belong in the trial. If the prosecution had a strong case against her, they didn’t need to stoop this low. However, this piece of evidence is the type I love to use in my law school class. As they say, it is a teaching moment.

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The Casey Anthony Video Debacle

There was a photograph entered into evidence in the Casey Anthony trial on Friday, June 10, 2011. The photo shows Caylee Anthony and her mother Casey. An expert witness used this photo to superimpose an image of Caylee’s skull to mark supposedly where duct tape found on the remains would have been positioned on her face while alive.

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