Blog Posts in April, 2018

  • Crying CW

    I just finished a sex crimes trial. The courtroom was small and intimate. The complaining witness was seated two rows behind me, when I gave my Closing Argument. Her row was no further than six to seven feet away from the edge of the jury box. Each time I pointed out inconsistencies between her testimony and prior statements, she began to sob loudly. Her crying became even louder whenever I ...
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  • What Is the Presumption of Innocence?

    A bedrock principle of the American criminal justice system is that a defendant accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This protection comes from the due process guarantees in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. It exists to guard against convictions based on factual error. You may wonder, especially if you are involved in a ...
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  • Order of Closing Argument

    As a trial lawyer who has been conducting jury trials for 35 years, the last 20 years strictly as a defense attorney, I have a hard time accepting long-standing procedural protocols in certain state courts, including Massachusetts, whereby the defendant is the first to give Closing Argument. Yes, I understand the order that arguments are given is premised on the prosecution having the burden of ...
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  • Can You Be Arrested for Self-Defense?

    Our country’s laws allow us to protect ourselves. As part of your Constitutional right, you have the right to “security of person,” which means you have the right to protect yourself from harm, such as in instances of assault and battery, domestic violence or even destruction or theft of property. Unfortunately, a police officer may arrest you even if you did nothing wrong. Is self-defense really ...
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