» Entries tagged with "witness"

Guilt v. Shame

A witness and I each had pretty remarkable breakthroughs at the same time earlier today. We both suddenly understood things we’d never really considered. When she had her revelation, she shook her head in disgust. On the other hand, I just thought yet again about how ridiculous our justice system really is. To say the witness and I have different backgrounds would be an understatement. We’re generations removed, and even if we shared a birth date in the same year, it would hardly even begin to bridge the cultural gap. On top of that, she’s mostly deaf and entirely mute. An ASL interpreter did not work out, and her writing is very difficult to understand. The “interview” today involved a pen and some paper. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Uncategorized

A Victim In The Way

From afar, I’ve been watching a colleague represent the minor victim in an assault case. The “victim” was actually the aggressor, so it behooved him to hire counsel. He and his lawyer have had quite the ride as the case has progressed. I’m sure the prosecutor told the defense attorney that the victim would not consent to an interview because almost every prosecutor does that in almost every case. They almost never ask, however, and this time I knew for a fact that was what happened. The prosecutor never once bothered to consult with the victim about anything. At most, the prosecutor just read what the cops said the victim said, probably not even listening to the actual recorded interview, then acted like an expert on … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, Prosecutors, Victim's Rights

Fighting Stupid With Stupid

A lot of my biker friends have a patch on their jackets that says, “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Apparently, the quote originates from W. C. Fields. In some ways, it’s great advice for a trial lawyer. People tend to be judgmental. They’re also easily confused. Those are usually characteristics that the prosecution can readily use to its advantage. People want to love or hate someone, and if the person on the stand doesn’t make sense to them, hate tends to be the default reaction. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a prosecutor confuse a defense witness, and subsequently the jury, with idiotic questions. More often, the prosecution preys on the ignorance of the jurors writ large and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial


When people hold a certain belief, they tend to view almost anything even arguably relevant to that belief as proof the belief is true. In the context of being a criminal lawyer, that often comes up when I tell clients I am going to move to suppress problematic evidence. I encounter resistance from them based on a kind of logic (I use the term very, very loosely) born almost entirely from their bias. The typical situation in which I encounter such logic involves a client who believes a witness is a liar. His unshakable belief in the witness’s dishonesty has led him to believe that every other bad thing the witness might say about him is convincing proof that the witness is a liar. He fails to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

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