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April 03, 2005

Crimlaw Clicks

Some great reads recently around the crimlaw blogs:
  • Congratulations to Indiana Public Defender who just won a sweet “Not Guilty” verdict at trial after the jury deliberated only 19 minutes! “I guess they needed some time to pick a foreman and use the restroom before they set my client free.” You gotta love that.
  • Courtroom 302, a new book about one Cook County, IL, courtroom and the U.S. criminal justice system generally, sounds like a great read. The review at that link was written by David Feige, who apparently has a book of his own called Indefensible coming out soon. His blog also looks terrific.
  • I'm A PD's When your guts are thoroughly hated is a riveting and candid voire dire vignette about how one “bad seed” can spoil the whole jury pool and possible responses an attorney might have when she sees this beginning to happen. It includes the following speech I'm A PD gives her clients before going into trial:
    Sit up straight, pay attention, take notes (or pretend to), and look confident.  You're the ice man, got it? Stay cool, I got your back. And if I don't, you won't catch me getting upset, you see? I'm cool, you're cool.  Innocent people don't get phased by every little thing. There are going to be 24 eyes on you at all times. If anyone throws you a look, you let me know. If there's anyone in there that doesn't feel you, you let me know. They're going to assume you're guilty, don't let that throw you. Let them look at you. You got nothing to hide, and they'll see they're looking at an innocent man. Ice man, okay?
    That's awesome, and the rest of the post is a must-read for law students planning to do any criminal defense trial work. I'm A PD sounds like a great attorney; her aggressive interior covered by a cool cucumber exterior reminds me a little of the attorney I worked with last summer. She posted this a couple of weeks ago ... I hope the trial went well.
  • Mike at Crime and Federalism links to this post about how to talk to a lawyer and adds a couple of extra points specific to talking to a criminal defender. Mike is also collecting recommendations for quality books and resources dealing with cross examination.
  • Gideon at a Public Defender wonders why the legal community gives so many awards for pro bono work.
    No one ever gives awards to the Legal Aid lawyer, or the countless hard-working public defenders. So what is it about the big corporate attorney who provides pro bono representation that is so special?
    Gideon says the post has no point, but the point is perfectly clear to me. This is like the larger professional version of the legal education bias I've been discussing in the comments here—it's as if the whole practice of law is designed to default to BigLaw, and if you do anything else (including pro bono work if your a BigLawyer), it's like you're doing something “special.” And yet, if you do this “special” non-BigLaw full time, you're somehow not special. But then, perhaps this is nothing to get too bent out of shape about. While BigLawyers get plaques and mentions in the trade press for their pro bono efforts, I doubt those “awards” are as satisfying as the rewards public defenders and legal aid lawyers get every day from their full time service in the public interest. You think?
  • Monica at Buzzwords sounds like she's still having a great time interning at a public defender's office in Alaska. She's so busy doing a trial by herself that she doesn't really have time to write about all her experiences, but that pretty much speaks for itself. Wow. Go Monica!

Posted April 3, 2005 01:00 PM | 2L lists

Yeah, that was my non-point. You're also right when you say these "awards" are not as satisfying as doing the job itself. Sometimes, though, it just really annoys me.

Posted by: Gideon at April 4, 2005 07:45 PM

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