Imperfect Impeachment and Kamala Harris

It is my Kamala Harris moment. You recall her questioning of Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing.  She sets him up carefully:  Q:  Judge, have you ever discussed Special Counsel Mueller or his investigation with anyone? A:  Well,… Read More

The Rule on Witnesses at a D.C. DMV Hearing

DEFENSE:  Before I begin my argument, I’d like to invoke the rule on witnesses. HEARING EXAMINER: The what?  The rule on witnesses? DEFENSE:  Yes, sir.   The sergeant has concluded his testimony.  He will be a witness against my client… Read More

“No Questions, Your Honor”

When it comes to cross-examination, I consider myself a minimalist. I figure out what I need from the witness. I tell my version of the story. And I ask the witness to agree with me. Some lawyers have… Read More

I didn’t say, “Simon says”

Q:            Officer. You testified on direct that my client was talkative when you first approached his car. A:            Yes. As I began speaking with him, he was repeating himself quite a bit, wasn’t really answering my questions, just… Read More

An Ethical Prosecutor Confronts Her Own Witness

BY DEFENSE COUNSEL ON CROSS Q: Ms. Smith, do you have an email account? A: Do I have an e-mail account? Q: Yes. A: I do. Q: Is it a Yahoo account? A: No. Q: What is your… Read More

“The Type of Guy That Gives Lawyers a Bad Name”

Q:            When did you have that conversation then with David? A:            Prior to him ending up in the hospital. Q:            Do you recall the date, approximately? A:            No, I do not recall an approximate date. Q:            Not even… Read More

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