Hamilton Burger on the “Jury Trial Tax”

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

Effective Assistance of Counsel and David Feige

Lawyers are trained to watch the judge for cues during trial.  There are subtle cues.  And then there are the not-so-subtle cues. There was a preliminary hearing judge in Philadelphia who was famous for playing golf every day… Read More

Philadelphia: Where the One-Eyed Man is King

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

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

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

Telling the Truth on the Witness Stand

I’ve complained about “thin-skinned prosecutors,” lying cops, and “too clever by half” prosecution witnesses.  In fairness, I should say that I have also had experience with either clients or friends and family members ready to testify for the… Read More

The Challenges Of Being A Solo Practitioner

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

The Thin-Skinned Prosecutor

I’ve noticed some complaining recently on other criminal defense blogs about junior prosecutors.  These prosecutors, so the complaints go, tend to be more inflexible than their more senior colleagues when it comes to plea bargaining.   In addition, they… Read More

Listening to the Witness on Cross-Examination

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

The “Too Clever By Half” Prosecution Witness

One of my favorites targets for cross-examination is the prosecution witness with an axe to grind.  While you need to be vigilant as a criminal defense attorney facing this type of witness, particularly if you are in front… Read More