Laying the Foundation for an “Excited Utterance”

Q. Officer. When you arrived, the altercation was still on-going, right?
A. That’s right.
Q. So you have no idea how it started?
A. No, I don’t.
Q. When you arrived, my client had a bottle in her hand?
A. Correct.
Q. And he had a piece of wood in his hand, right?

Police Officers as Neutral, Disinterested Witnesses

I like most of the police officers I work with.  Access to body worn camera footage has also given me greater respect for what they do:  I have seen them deal with volatile and potentially dangerous situations with sensitivity and respect.  But this notion of police officers as neutral, disinterested third party observers who testify impartially on behalf of the government is ridiculous. The officers do pick a side – and it is the government’s. 

Impeachment on Personnel Records

Q:        If you lost your body worn camera, you could get written up for that, right? A:         Yeah, if you lost it, yes.  But in this situation, it was knocked off or fell off, whatever have you –… Read More

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