December 2008 Archives

Jury Trials in Criminal Cases

Having recently completed a jury trial in a felony matter, I am reminded of the many many things that can happen unexpectedly in a trial, some good, some bad. Overall, though, I think lawyers and clients have become a little too chicken about putting their cases before 12 fellow citizens. It's always interesting to see how often the cases look better on paper for the state than when they're required to put the witnesses on the stand. Especially in state court, defense attorneys are frequently able to take advantage of the district attorney's lack of knowledge about his own case and the inexperience of the prosecutor to gain the upper hand. Given the volume of cases DAs are required to handle and the high turnover in their offices these days, defense lawyers have no excuse for not knowing far more about the facts of a case than their opposition.

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