U.S. Capitol building

Cross Examinations. Directs, too.

Jamison KoehlerEvidence, Trial Advocacy

“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 is a declaration that the other side hasn’t touched you, hasn’t hurt you at all, with the testimony. It is like Muhammad …

On Trial Transcripts: Only the Stenographer Knows for Sure

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Trial Advocacy

  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, and a good stenographer will throw in every “er,” “um” and “okay” to remind you that you may not be quite the …

Aerial view of DC

On the Defendant’s Acceptance of Responsibility at Sentencing

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, DUI and Driving Offenses, Sentencing

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 wanted to see him cross examine the same police officer who had testified in my case. And, recognizing that everyone has a …

Jefferson Memorial

The “Almost Went To Trial” Blues

Jamison KoehlerLaw Practice

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 trial as a private practitioner nearly as much as you did as a public defender or prosecutor, and you savor these moments …

Hamilton Burger on the “Jury Trial Tax”

Jamison KoehlerLaw Practice

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 take some time off over the next couple of weeks to prepare for the Virginia Bar Examination, I have offered him the …

U.S. Capitol building

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

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Law Practice

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 front of a judge.  That’s right:  Same facts.  Same verdict.  Different sentence. This is a variation of the so-called “trial tax,” which …

Jefferson Memorial

The Challenges Of Being A Solo Practitioner

Jamison KoehlerLaw Marketing/Networking, Law Practice

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 that [the blog] contributes anything to my practice and since the novelty has worn off, it just isn’t fun anymore.”  McLees also …