“No Questions, Your Honor”

U.S. Capitol Building

If practice makes perfect, then prosecutors tend to be better at direct examination and defense attorneys at cross. It is a question of what we do the most of. I think of this while watching a prosecutor conduct… Read More

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

Withdrawing a Guilty Plea

  It is never easy to plead guilty. As the cliché goes, if you plead guilty, there is a 100% chance that you will be found guilty. Nobody likes to stand up in open court and admit to… Read More

Coles v. U.S.: The Right to a “Meaningful Degree” of Cross-Examination

Jefferson Memorial

  Although the ability to cross-examine a witness is a critical component of the Sixth Amendment right to confront your accusers in a criminal case, this right is not without boundaries:  “Once sufficient cross-examination has occurred to satisfy… 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

Avoid Tit for Tat When Confronting Expert Witnesses

U.S. Capitol Building

  Guest Post by “Hamilton Burger” Every trial lawyer faces that sharp chill in the middle of the night, when your mind refuses to let go of your upcoming trial — and you realize that your opponent has… Read More

On Trial Tactics — Intentional and Otherwise

D.C. skyline

  I am sitting in court waiting for trial to begin.  The charge is assault on a police officer. I have just been given a video recording in another case and I decide to use this time to… Read More

Sometimes A Guilty Verdict Is a Win (At Least That Is What I Tell Myself)

D.C. skyline

  Although Virginia juries have a reputation for being unforgiving, I have also been told that juries in Prince William County can be pretty unpredictable. Going into trial yesterday, my client was facing a mandatory 5-year sentence for… Read More

Notes on a Lost Trial

Eleven months of wrangling comes to this:  a two-day trial in D.C. Superior Court. The argument on pre-trial motions starts out well, and I find myself in the enviable position of sitting on the sidelines as the judge… Read More

“Every DWI Case Is Defensible”

You often hear criminal defense lawyers who are just starting out say that they will initially handle drinking-and-driving offenses, like DWI or DUI, until they get their feet on the ground.  The cases are, they say, straightforward and… Read More