Pretrial, Trial, Appellate & Evidence Blog

Latest from Pretrial, Trial, Appellate & Evidence Blog

The Jenner and Block Attorney-Client Privilege Handbook was recently distributed through an email by David Greenwald. Greenwald wrote: “This work has evolved from a modest outline inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Upjohn Co. v. United States more than 30 years ago.  Through regular provide practical information for in-house and outside counsel.  “We provide this document to our clients, friends and colleagues free of charge.  Please feel free to forward the handbook to anyone who…
Let’a examine how lawyers communicate in writing. Here’s how a lawyer wrote the sentence—“I give you an orange”: I give you all and singular, my estate and interest, right, title, claim and advantage of and in that orange, with all its rind, skin, juice, pulp and pips, and all right and advantage therein, with full power to bite, cut, suck, and otherwise eat the same, or give the same away as fully and effectually as…
If you were asked for the advice that you would give to an aspiring law student about how to become a competent lawyer, what would you say? Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter gave this advice: My dear Paul, No one can be a truly competent lawyer unless he is a cultivated man. If I were you, I would forget about any technical preparation for the law. The best way to prepare for the law is…
In a book I edited, entitled The Appellate Prosecutor: APractical and Inspirational Guide to Appellate Advocacy, the Honorable Paul Turner, who when the book was published was Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeals Second Appellate District of Los Angeles, California, contributed a chapter. Judge Turner’s chapter focuses on the art of writing, specifically on crafting the short declarative sentence, which he referred to as “The Key to Good Legal Writing.” Here is…
Paul Luvera –> Faced with juror bias during deliberations, the foreman took matters into his  own hands. At the conclusion of deliberations, the foreman told the media, “The jury was biased.” Politically biased. He said that a few of the jurors were aligned with the political views of the defendants in a first-degree assault case, and this led to seven days of jury deliberations, ending with a hung jury with nine of the twelve jurors…
–> “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal.” This is a statement attributed to Pablo Picasso. The same proposition holds true for great trial lawyers. Lesser trial attorneys borrow; great trial lawyers steal. The greats study what other trial lawyers have done, they remix it and transform it into their own work of art. This is particularly true of closing argument. Vincent Bugliosi –> Francis Wellman –> The second trial lawyer is Francis L. Wellman, an…
Sheri Johnson, Curtis Flowers attorney –> On June 21, 2019, the United States Supreme Court in Flowers v. Mississippi reversed the murder conviction and sentence to the death of black defendant Curtis Flowers. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority stated that Curtis Flowers had not been provided with “(e)qual justice under law” because his criminal trial was not “free of racial discrimination in the jury selection process.” Justice Kavanaugh wrote that the decision broke…
With the passing of Herman Wouk on May 17 at 103, we can remember his great masterpiece The CaineMutiny about sailors on a World War II destroyer minesweeper who mutiny against their incompetent Captain Queeg. Wouk wrote The Caine Mutiny play and for a while worked on the script for the movie in which Humphrey Bogart gave an Oscar winning performance as Captain Queeg in the Caine Mutiny movie. The basic facts underlying the court-martial case…
The Critical Importance of Practicing Your Voir Dire By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.             Despite what Allen Iverson might say (search “Allen Iverson” and “practice” on YouTube if you do not get this reference), practice is essential to the successful development of any skillset. In competition, competitors get better by practicing. This is why it is surprising to me that most attorneys do not practice their voir dire before the day of jury selection, particularly…