Cross Examinations. Directs, too.

U.S. Capitol building

“No questions, Your Honor.” What could be more satisfying to say after your opponent has completed his direct examination than those four simple words? It is a challenge, a slap in the face with a folded glove.  It… Read More

On Trial Transcripts: Only the Stenographer Knows for Sure

  Reviewing the transcript from a hearing or trial you have done can sometimes be a humbling experience. What you may have remembered as a dramatic moment at trial can come across as flat on the printed page,… Read More

“The One Question Too Many”

U.S. Capitol building

  My colleague — the lawyer for the co-defendant in one of my cases – is annoyed with me. We each represent a person charged with robbery at a metro stop, and I am cross-examining the police officer… Read More

Trial Ad 101: On Reading A Closing Argument at Trial

U.S. Capitol building

Sitting in Room 117 of D.C. Superior Court last week, I caught the tail end of a bench trial in which the defense attorney read her closing argument from a sheet of paper. I have no idea how… Read More

On the Defendant’s Acceptance of Responsibility at Sentencing

Aerial view of DC

Earlier this week, I caught the tail-end of a DWI trial in which Michael Bruckheim was representing the defendant. Bruckheim had attended portions of my last DWI trial in D.C., and I decided to repay the favor. I… Read More

Why I Hate Guilty Pleas

Jefferson Memorial

Having a client accept a guilty plea is like getting all dressed up for the prom and then deciding to stay home. On Friday I stood with the prosecutor outside a Prince William County courtroom on a driving… Read More

The “Almost Went To Trial” Blues

Jefferson Memorial

You are wearing one of the good suits you save for trial.  Your trial notebook is at your side. You got up early to exercise, and now you are feeling rested, relaxed, and confident.  You don’t go to… Read More

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

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

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

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