Surviving the Virginia Bar Exam: Reflections After Day One

February 24, 2010
Jefferson and Washington monuments

Norfolk, Va. — Before starting law school, I read a number of books on how to survive your first year.  One book dealt with law school etiquette.  Top among its rules was not to discuss an examination with… Read More

On Rushed and Ill-Considered Guilty Pleas

February 12, 2010

Last summer, my 19-year-old daughter decided that she wanted to come see me in court.  I had just given notice of my intention to resign from the Defender Association of Philadelphia effective at the end of the month,… Read More

A Public Defender with a Sense of Humor

February 10, 2010
Jefferson and Washington monuments

A couple of weeks ago, I complained about the lack of criminal law blogs done by women.  I also bemoaned the fact that, with a few exceptions, there do not seem to be many public defender blogs that… Read More

Hamilton Burger on the “Jury Trial Tax”

February 2, 2010

A good friend of mine, a former prosecutor in Massachusetts and Virginia, has criticized my blog for its defense-centric viewpoint.   The actual words he used, if I recall correctly, were “criminal apologisms.” Since I will be need to… Read More

Philadelphia: Where the One-Eyed Man is King

January 30, 2010
Jefferson and Washington monuments

My wife does not read this blog.  I understand.  She’s busy.  Friends or family will tell her they enjoyed something they read on the blog and she will smile and thank them, but she really has no clue… Read More

Preparing for the Virginia Bar Examination

In 24 days I will be sitting down to take another bar, this time in Virginia.  The idea, which seemed like a pretty good idea when I came up with it last fall, is that I will be… Read More

Felony-Murder and the Case of Annie Le

January 27, 2010
Jefferson Memorial

A loyal reader (okay, it’s my brother-in-law George) has asked me to explain the difference between murder and felony-murder.  George learned of the distinction while reading about yesterday’s not guilty plea in the Yale graduate student murder case. … Read More

The “Jury Trial Tax”: The Penalty for Insisting on a Jury Trial

January 23, 2010
U.S. Capitol building

It is a sad but well-known fact among criminal defense lawyers in many jurisdictions that if you insist on a jury trial and lose, you will get a stiffer penalty than if you lose the same case in… Read More

The Challenges Of Being A Solo Practitioner

January 14, 2010
Jefferson Memorial

I was sorry to learn this morning that one of my favorite legal bloggers – Michael McLees of Fast Texas Divorce – has decided to discontinue his blog. Writes McLees on a recent entry:  “I’m just not sure… Read More

Listening to the Witness on Cross-Examination

January 6, 2010

This guy has his eye put out in an accident.  He can’t afford a glass eye, so the eye doctor puts in a fake eye made of wood instead. The guy is very self-conscious about his wood eye,… Read More