Justice Alito, Religion and Juries

When a prospective juror says “I believe homosexuality is a sin” just like stealing, may that person be the “fair and impartial” juror?  In a case brought by a lesbian prison guard whose claim is harassment on the job?  The default answer should be “no.” Yet according to Justice Samuel Alito the answer is presumptively

Slow Motion Video: New Jersey Speaks

Slow the video down It moves too fast But watch out it makes intent really last Feelin’ groovy (with apologies to Simon and Garfunkle) The proliferation of video evidence- body cameras, store security footage, ring cameras, and the ubiquitous hand-held cellphone – can’t be questioned.  The use of video ranges from the high-profile cases, all

THE CHARACTER WITNESS CONUNDRUM

  Pennsylvania law, as does federal, permits a person accused of a crime to ‘defend’ in part by proving their ‘good’ character, limited to the pertinent trait.  If the crime is robbery or assault, the defense is that the accused is non-violent; and if the crime charged is forgery or theft, that the person is

POLARIZE THE CASE

In one iteration of his “Ten Commandments” lecture on cross-examination, the famed advocacy teacher Irving Younger posited that ‘less is more.’  When showing a witness’ bias, you need not call them out as a liar; instead, simply argue in closing “and the witness, who testified for the defendant – it’s their mother.”  According to Younger,

TOOLMARK EVIDENCE: CAN’T LIVE WITH IT, CAN’T…

Criminal case investigations often start with Locard’s “exchange principle” – “It is impossible for a criminal to act, especially considering the intensity of a crime, without leaving traces of this presence.”  As otherwise described, “[t]his theory states that, whenever two objects come into contact, an exchange of materials occurs between them.” Mistek et al,  ,

BLINDERED BY THE LIE

Bruce Springstein’s inimitable lyrics speak of someone “blinded by the light.”  They came to mind, sadly, when reviewing a defense lawyer’s attempt to impeach a cooperating witness.  In that case, the lawyer followed a model that is a recurring problem in trial advocacy, lawyers “blindered by the lie.” What do I mean? Decades ago I