Final Argument: Rebutting “Commonsense”

Posted by Roy Black

At least 311 innocent people were condemned by “commonsense.” There are probably a lot more languishing in our dungeons, but at least that many convicted inmates have been exonerated through DNA. I bet in each one of those trials the prosecutor told the jury to use their “god-given commonsense” to fill in any gaps in the evidence and convict the accused.

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The Marchman Act: Mastering a New Area of the Law

Posted by Marcos Beaton

A client recently came to us with a problem that we had never handled before. He was facing a Marchman Act petition under Chapter 397 of the Florida Statutes. For those that don’t know, Chapter 397 authorizes involuntary evaluation and treatment for substance abuse. And although we specialize in protecting clients from encroachment on their constitutional rights and freedoms, this case involved having to master an area of the law with which we had only — at best — a vague familiarity. So, how did we do it and what did we learn?

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Final Argument: Douglas MacArthur

Posted by Roy Black

Few doubt that General Douglas MacArthur was a brilliant man. He graduated first in his class at West Point. He earned over 100 military decorations from the U.S. and other countries. During the First World War he won the Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Cross twice, and Seven Silver Stars.

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UM Moot Court Competition

Posted by Roy Black

Last week was packed full of advocacy. On Wednesday, Howard argued at the Supreme Court while I tried a 3-day civil non-jury case (a declaratory action, so no jury), and Sunday afternoon I was a judge for the semi-final round of the law school’s moot court competition.

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Partner Howard Srebnick Argued Asset Seizure Before the United States Supreme Court

Posted by Wanda Gomez

On March 18, 2013, a Petition for Writ of Certiorari was granted in the case of United States v. Kaley, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 12-464. Howard Srebnick, a Partner in the Firm, appeared before the United States Supreme Court yesterday, October 16, 2013.

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Final Argument: Edgar Lee Masters

Posted by Roy Black

How does a poet fit into this series? Edgar Lee masters was not an ivory tower academic – he was a lawyer who advocated for the poor and powerless just like one of his law partners — Clarence Darrow. I came across Masters while teaching myself English literature. His legacy is the Spoon River Anthology, a series of 244 poetic monologues in the voices of the dead. He took the names off tombstones in an Illinois cemetery and combined fact, fiction and speculation to create their voices.

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Roy Black to Judge UM Moot Court Competition – Sunday, October 20, 2013

Posted by Wanda Gomez

Roy Black to Judge UM Moot Court Competition on Sunday, October 20, 2013.

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Final Argument: Electronic Presentations

Posted by Roy Black

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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Final Argument: Verbal Tics

Posted by Roy Black

I watch Sports Center almost every morning while getting dressed. Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, in an interview, said “y’know” – 72 times in three minutes. Yes I counted them. Sounded like he was afflicted with tourette’s. It was grating – fingernails on a blackboard. Imagine a jury suffering through an hour of intensely annoying verbal tics.

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Final Argument: Olbermann

Posted by Roy Black

Henry Ward Beecher: “Not until human nature is other than what it is, will the function of the living voice — the greatest force on earth among men — cease . . . . I advocate, therefore, in its full extent, and for every reason of humanity, of patriotism, and of religion, a more thorough culture of oratory and I define oratory to be the art of influencing conduct with the truth set home by all the resources of the living man.”

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