Feedback from Jurors After Trial

The jury is still deadlocked after three days of deliberations, and the judge declares a mistrial. She releases the jurors. Anyone interested in answering questions from the lawyers, she tells them, should stick around in the jury room…. Read More

Second Fiddle at a Jury Trial

It is not easy sitting second-chair at a trial when you are used to running the show yourself. Recently appointed as a provisional member of the panel to represent indigent criminal defendants in D.C., I need to second-chair… Read More

And Sometimes the Court Views the Government’s Witness the Same Way You Do

THE COURT: Okay. Now, see, we’re running into a little bit of a problem here. THE WITNESS: Okay. THE COURT: This is a trial in an American courtroom. THE WITNESS: Okay. THE COURT: And you have sworn to… Read More

Effective <--->  Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

I am doing a court-appointed criminal appeal, and I am cranky with the defense lawyer who tried the case. He won’t return my phone calls. He won’t send me the trial file. I have no idea why he… Read More

Trial Transcript: New Prosecutor Struggles With Basics of Direct Examination

A: It is a photograph of the bottle that was thrown through the window. Q: How did you find that bottle? A: I didn’t find the bottle. The policeman found the bottle. THE COURT: So she didn’t find… Read More

“Badgering” the Witness at a CPO Hearing

The judge informs me that I am “badgering” the witness. I have heard of “arguing with a witness” and “harassing a witness.” Until the judge accuses me of “badgering” the witness, however, I didn’t even know there was… Read More

And Sometimes We Get Outlawyered

We like to think that the fate of our case will rise or fall depending on our lawyering. Placing us at the center of everything, this perception helps our egos.  It also suggests complete control:  We are guaranteed… Read More

Police Officer as Expert at DMV Hearing

Q:  You are certified to administer the standardized field sobriety tests? A:  Yes. Q:  So you are familiar with the science behind the standardized field sobriety tests? A:  Yes. Q:  And you are aware that the tests have… Read More

Refreshing Recollection at a DMV Hearing

DEFENSE COUNSEL:  Objection. HEARING EXAMINER:  Basis? DEFENSE COUNSEL:  I would ask that the officer testify from memory and not read from his report. HEARING EXAMINER:  Officer, are you testifying from memory or are you using the report to… Read More

Watching Amy Phillips

She is assertive without being aggressive. She knows when to push and when to hang back. She is pleasant and well-spoken. She does her homework. She is committed to her clients while keeping a sense of humor. As… Read More