Mob Justice in Baltimore

Posted by Roy Black

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.

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Cross-Examination: Try to Leave Before Redirect

Posted by Roy Black

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.

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David Rosen

Posted by Roy Black

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.

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The Slippery Slope of Waiving Rights

Posted by Roy Black

I read in the New York Times that Eli Cherkasky, an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan DA public corruption unit, was adjudged guilty of third-degree assault, criminal obstruction of breathing and second-degree harassment, all misdemeanors. He had a fight with a woman during a drunken argument at a bar on Halloween night in 2014. He waived his right to a jury trial.

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Cross: The deadly “Why”

Posted by Roy Black

“Cross-examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth. You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it. A lawyer can do anything with cross-examination if he is skillful enough not the impale his own cause upon it.” – JOHN HENRY WIGMORE It is hard to explain the principles […]

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Vincent Bugliosi: The Legacy

Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted 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?”

Posted 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

Posted 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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