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… 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… 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

Sometimes I Think The Stenographer Is Out To Get Me

I read every transcript I can get my hands on, including my own.  My office mate at the Philly PD’s office used to give me a hard time about that – he thought I was being vain. But… Read More

It Is All About Respect

The judge takes the bench at 9:15 am. That she does this every day without fail is a sign of respect for herself, for the system, and for every person who appears in front of her. And it… Read More

In Defense of a Well-Timed Stink

Clients love the courtroom theatrics. There was a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia – I will call him Larry — who could put on the best show you have ever seen.  Larry was fearless and he was funny. … Read More

Pinning Down An Elusive Cop On Cross-Examination

Q:            You testified on direct that the defendant approached you. A:            Define when you say approach. Q:            I am sorry? A:            Define what you mean when you say approach. Q:            Officer.  Unless I am mistaken, it was you… Read More