JUNK SCIENCE

The Realm of Junk Science   Search the internet, and you can find links to articles and discussions of ‘lip print’ and ‘ear print’ comparison as forensic tools for identifying perpetrators.  Or search U.S. decisional law, and you may find a transcript of testimony like the following: Q:…[D]o you have an opinion as to the

TRIAL ADVOCACY BASICS – 3RD EDITION (NITA)

In December 2016, when reviewing the second edition of BASIC TRIAL ADVOCACY, I wrote the following: NITA – the National Institute for Trial Advocacy – deserves great credit for providing [advocacy lessons] in a concise, reader-friendly form in TRIAL ADVOCACY BASICS (NITA, 2016) by Molly Townes O’Brien and Gary S. Gildin.    BASICS is an effective

POINT WELL MADE: PERSUASIVE ORAL ADVOCACY (second edition)

  When I reviewed POINT WELL MADE, a NIITA 2016 publication, I wrote that it is a “wonderfully succinct text of 159 pages, it is packed with insight upon insight that individually and collectively will improve motions practice.  The authors have the know-how.  Nancy Viadik was a trial level judge and now is on a

A DESCENDING SPIRAL: EXPOSING THE DEATH PENALTY IN 12 ESSAYS

The information world – books, essays, online discussions and posts – is awash with discussions of the death penalty.  There are “death penalty fast facts,” https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/19/us/death-penalty-fast-facts/index.html ; statistics https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=18 ; a museum tour https://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/execution/origins-of-capital-punishment/ ; encyclopedic overviews of caselaw https://deathpenalty.procon.org/major-death-penalty-cases-in-the-us-supreme-court/ ; debates https://www.thoughtco.com/pros-cons-capital-punishment-3367815 ; policy https://policy-perspectives.org/2019/12/16/the-us-federal-government-and-capital-punishment/ ; advocacy https://www.amnestyusa.org/10-reasons-to-abolish-the-death-penalty/ ; essential information https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/ ; and

THE TRIAL LAWYER: WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN (2nd Edition)

Depending upon what circle one travels in, the name “Dave Berg” may mean nothing, may link to the classic cartoons in MAD MAGAZINE, or may call to mind a stellar contemporary trial lawyer.   It is the last, trial lawyer David Berg, who penned THE TRIAL LAWYER; and in doing so he crafted a book with

THE DEFENDER

The words still resonate – “I don’t want a Public Defender, I want a real lawyer.”  They underpinned the backhanded compliment of “hey PD, you’re good.  You should go to law school.”  But it has been the case for decades that a person accused of a crime – adult or juvenile – was better off

BIASED TRIALS

A book titled “Biased Trials” will invariably draw the attention of those who take courtroom advocacy seriously, who teach advocacy, or are driven by concerns over disparate treatment.  This was a ‘moth to the candle’ attraction.  But this book is more than what a trial lawyer needs.  It is a study in behavioral economics, a

DIY COURTROOM DEMONSTRATIVES: AN INVALUABLE GUIDE

There are certain essential tools for learning how to best design a courtroom presentation, particularly powerpoint.  Think of PRESENTATION ZEN by Garr Reynolds, a map through the art of making less do more.  Reynolds taught simplicity, visuals over words, and story-telling; and in doing so inspired tributes like this one – How PRESENTATION ZEN fixed

GUILTY PEOPLE

Wrongful convictions; eyewitness error; DNA exonerations.  These are the exciting and popularly-acclaimed aspects of criminal defense – preventing or correcting the error of someone being wrongfully accused or imprisoned for an act that never occurred or was committed by someone else.  But focusing on those cases ignores the primary role invoked by the Sixth Amendment

ADVOCACY EXCELLENCE (NOT QUITE)

There was much to look forward to when a new textbook on trial advocacy, by two experienced women lawyers,  was released:  new voices, more prominence for women advocates, and [hopefully] the latest in multi-disciplinary insights to teaching and performing the art of litigation.  And the promotional material for Camille Abate’s and Kathleen Mullin’s ADVOCACY EXCELLENCE