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Trial Lawyer Confidential

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #99 in Courses category

Education
Society & Culture
Courses
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Pulling Back the Curtain...

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Pulling Back the Curtain...

iTunes Ratings

203 Ratings
Average Ratings
176
14
4
2
7

Awesome podcast.

By Avid podcast Dan - Sep 12 2017
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One of the best law podcasts out there.

So Clarifying!

By moleyp - Jun 21 2017
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Thanks for answering the questions I didn’t realize I had. So happy I found the podcast.

iTunes Ratings

203 Ratings
Average Ratings
176
14
4
2
7

Awesome podcast.

By Avid podcast Dan - Sep 12 2017
Read more
One of the best law podcasts out there.

So Clarifying!

By moleyp - Jun 21 2017
Read more
Thanks for answering the questions I didn’t realize I had. So happy I found the podcast.
Cover image of Trial Lawyer Confidential

Trial Lawyer Confidential

Updated 4 days ago

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Pulling Back the Curtain...

Rank #1: TLC_003: THE HEARSAY RULE

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In This Episode:

I answer a listener’s question about the HEARSAY rule. What is Hearsay? Why is it so dangerous? And if it is so darn bad, why are there so many exceptions to the rule?

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

I offer some advice for how to deal with the testimony of a law enforcement officer who claims your client “confessed” to him, but the confession isn’t written down and isn’t recorded.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter offering in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.
Download Audio Here (MP3)

Feb 25 2013

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Rank #2: TLC_005: FROM ARREST TO TRIAL

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In This Episode:

I reveal what happens to a person from the day they are arrested for a crime to the day their actual jury trial starts. If you cannot afford to post bail, you may spend up to 3 months in jail waiting for your trial to begin. Some trials take years to prepare. You will also learn about plea bargains and why they are necessary but are also how they are used to deny defendants their right to trial.

Do you ever wonder why you are sometimes called for jury duty only to spend a whole day in the waiting room and never get called into a courtroom? I’ll explain what may be the cause of that frustrating day.

 TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

I offer some advice on tag lines and stories. Whether you are trying to persuade a jury to acquit or your boss to give you a raise or your prospective client to hire you, it all comes down to the story you tell. The best way to structure your story is to boil it down to the TV GUIDE taglines of old.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter offering in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download Audio here. (MP3)

Mar 18 2013

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Rank #3: TLC_027: MURDER

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on the laws relating to the LAW OF MURDER.
First degree murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought carried out in a willful, premeditated and deliberate manner. 2nd Degree murder lacks the willfulness, premeditation and deliberation but malice is implied by the conduct, the circumstances or the conscious disregard to human life.

Murder trials are often viewed by trial lawyers as the pinnacles of their career. If television shows and infotainment “news” programs are any indication, the general public is fascinated by these unique, often complicated and dramatic trials as well. In states where the death penalty is used, there are very specific circumstances (often called special circumstances) under which a murder is committed that allow the state to seek to impose the ultimate punishment. Some of these have to do with the actor himself, such as a repeat offender, others have to do with motive, as in murder for financial gain, murder that is racially motivated. Some have to do with the actions themselves being above and beyond what is necessary to kill a person, such as torture. And still others have to do with the identity of the victim, such as the killing of a police officer, an elected official, a witness, a juror or a judge.  Some states still have a catch-all circumstance that the murder was particularly heinous or horrendous.

There are also specified felonies that if a killing during the course of their commission, the murder is deemed first degree even if a killing was not the original intent of the perpetrators. In California, these include: murder by weapon of mass destruction, by an explosive device, murder with a weapon whose ammunition is designed to pierce metal or armor, poisoning, lying in wait (ambush) and torture. Other states will list different felonies but all will be crimes that in their commission evidence that violence and harm could result form their commission.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

Quick Tip for keeping in check your perspective when dealing with situations that may be considered minor or less important than other situations and how refusing to “call it in” will make your presentation or relationship more compelling.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial. And be sure to check back soon for a special offer exclusively for attorneys!

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Jan 12 2014

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Rank #4: TLC_026: OBJECTIONS and SIDEBARS

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on the laws relating to OBJECTIONS and SIDEBAR CONFERENCES.  The law allows both sides in a criminal or civil case to object to certain questions or answers that are being asked or elicited in open court. There are Rules of Evidence that govern what the jurors can and cannot hear.  When one side feel the other is violating those rules, an objection is posed. If the objection is “overruled” that means that the Court is disagreeing with the side making the objection and the judge will allow the question or the answer to stand. If the objection is “sustained” that means that the Court is agreeing with the party making the objection and the question will not be allowed or the answer (if already given) will be struck from the record. 

Sidebar conferences occur at the discretion of the court. The judge can order the parties to “approach the bench” to discuss a matter to be heard outside the presence of the jurors and the lawyers can also request a “sidebar” to argue a point of law. Many times the sidebars are for the purpose of arguing legal issues that the jurors cannot be privy to, but just as often they are for the more mundane purposes of scheduling or requesting bathroom breaks.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

Quick Tip for giving your audience an “insider’s” secret that will help make your presentations more compelling and your message more memorable.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial. And be sure to check back soon for a special offer exclusively for attorneys!

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Dec 29 2013

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Rank #5: TLC_004: BAD LAWS

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In This Episode:

I expose Bad Laws: Laws that were passed to placate us and make us believe we are “tough on crime”, but in reality  do more harm than good and often are not worth the money it costs to enforce them. Specifically addressed are the “THREE STRIKES” law and laws requiring lifetime registration for all sex offenders.

 TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

I offer some advice on how to start your jury selection when your client is accused of a crime that carries a horrific social stigma.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter offering in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download Audio Here (MP3)

Mar 09 2013

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Rank #6: TLC_007: DUI DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on the laws relating to DUI: Driving Under the Influence, or
DWI: Driving While Intoxicated (commonly called drink driving). Learn about what police officers look for when they are on patrol for impaired drivers, what B.A.C. or blood alcohol content is and how it’s measured; the common punishments for DUI and all about the contraption known as the Ignition Interlock Device.  Also I offer an overview of how we as a society have tried to combat driving under the influence and my own offbeat suggestion on how we can do more to help curb this common crime.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

I offer some ideas on things to think about just prior to crafting your next argument or persuasive presentation. When you know your audience, you can craft messages to resonate personally with each one of them.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter that offering in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download Audio here. (MP3)

Apr 09 2013

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Rank #7: TLC_015: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on  Circumstantial Evidence.  Learn the major misconceptions about circumstantial evidence and how defendants and the general public often underestimate the power of this type of evidence in a trial.  We will explore some high profiles cases over the last several years that were based mostly on circumstantial evidence such as: Casey Anthony, Robert Blake, Scott Peterson, OJ Simpson and another recently arrested professional athlete.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

Tips and strategies for finding several different ways to explain a complicated concept to your audience or jury.  When an important point is somewhat complicated,  the more options you give your audience to learn that concept, the more likely it is they will understand.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Jul 14 2013

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Rank #8: TLC_019: SELF DEFENSE

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on Self Defense. The concept of self defense comes from common law and has always been a part of the American justice system. Over the years, issues have arisen over whether a person has a duty to retreat before using deadly force or whether an individual is entitled to stand his ground.  While the laws vary from state to state, the issue always boils down to: What were the circumstances surrounding the use of deadly force?

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

Tips for helping to put your audience or your jurors in the shoes of your client to get them to at least empathize with or at the very best root for the protagonist of your story.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Sep 08 2013

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Rank #9: TLC_013: PLEA BARGAINS

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on Plea Bargains.  Justice Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court wrote, “Criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials.” Justice Scalia wrote, “We accept plea bargaining because many believe that without it, our long and expensive process of criminal trial could not sustain the burden imposed on it, and our system of criminal justice would grind to a halt.”

Plea bargaining seems to be vilified by both sides of the political spectrum. Those who favor mass incarceration feel that criminals should be punished to the fullest extent of the law and not given lesser sentences on the basis of judicial expediency. Those who fear the number of innocent people coerced into pleading guilty feel that prosecutors should not be able to threaten life sentences in order to procure pleas in weak cases.

The Supreme Court has dealt with the issue sparingly. There are pros and cons to plea bargaining and the system is fraught with great potential for unfairness and unequal treatment, but there seems to be no viable alternative to its existence.  Hear the pros and cons in this episode and lest you believe that you would never be coerced into pleading guilty to something you did not actually do, check out a recent study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Authors Lucian E. Dervan and Vaness Edkins found that more than 50% of college students in the study who were falsely accused of cheating wound up admitting guilt anyway in return for a perceived benefit.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

I offer two strategies to consider when you are engaged in negotiations and trying to come to a meeting of the minds.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Jun 15 2013

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Rank #10: TLC_018: FALSE CONFESSIONS

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on False Confessions. What would possibly compel an innocent person to take responsibility for a crime he did not commit?  We will explore the psychological studies that have delved into this phenomena as well as some famous cases where a suspect’s confession has been proven false.

The Innocence Project estimates that of the 300 cases where DNA testing led to the release of the wrongfully convicted, nearly 25% involved a false confession. Many people believe they would never confess to a crime they did not commit, but overturned convictions and academic studies prove this is a misconception. It’s not just the vulnerable, the young, the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled that can be coerced, but the odds are greater in those cases.

See below for a video from National Geographic showing the actual interrogation of 14 year old Michael Crowe who was suspected of killing his sister, Stephanie. He was subjected to what the courts deemed “psychological torture” leading him to confess to the crime even though he had nothing to do with her death.
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Another famous case of a wrongful conviction occurred in Norfolk, Virginia where four men gave false confessions to a brutal murder. They have come to be known as the Norfolk Four.

Two noted academic studies dealing with false confessions: Kassin and Kiechel, The Social Psychology of False Confessions and Dervan and Edkins, The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

Tips for dealing with dense and often bland statistical information, academic studies or other dry data that you need to include in your persuasive presentaion.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Aug 25 2013

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Rank #11: TLC_025: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on the laws relating to Domestic Violence. We explore how and why it is treated differently than other types of assault. We also discuss why these cases are difficult for all participants in the legal system. Frequently prosecutors are unwilling to negotiate a plea bargain for fear that if the perpetrator reoffends, they will be held accountable. Prosecutors are faced with recanting witnesses who through fear, love or financial need will often come to court and ask that the charges be dropped, despite serious injuries in some cases. When the allegations are falsely made, which does happen more often than many care to admit, the lives of the accused can be ruined by the fact of the allegation itself.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

Quick Tip for finding the context, focus and perspective when you are crafting your next persuasive presentation.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial. And be sure to check back soon for a special offer exclusively for attorneys!

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Dec 15 2013

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Rank #12: TLC_023: PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on Prosecutorial Misconduct.  Recently a Texas Judge was disbarred, sentenced to 10 days in jail and 500 hours of community service for criminal contempt.  He was accused of lying to a judge in 1987 while he was a prosecutor trying the murder case of Michael Morton.  Mr. Morton spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. After DNA tests exonerated him of the crime, his lawyers obtained the original files which showed that the detective and the prosecutor had in their possession witness statements which tended to show Mr. Morton’s innocence and they failed to turn those over to the defense. Beyond that breach of ethical duty, the prosecutor was accused of lying to the Judge about the existence of these statements just before the original trial.  This is just one recent example of the system being corrupted by a corrupt prosecutor. What sets this case apart is not the egregiousness of the conduct (unfortunately such conduct is not rare) but that the prosecutor was actually punished for this conduct.

We will explore the Brady Rule and the new proposals that are being set forth to try to prevent these gross and deliberate miscarriages of justice. For a look at some other examples of prosecutorial misconduct see the following:

The Untouchables: America’s Misbehaving Prosecutors and the System that Protects Them

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Nov 17 2013

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Rank #13: TLC_010: BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on the legal standard of proof: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. It is the highest burden of proof in the American justice system and reserved only for trials where life or liberty are at stake.

I discuss the other standards proof in the legal system: Preponderance of Evidence and Clear and Convincing Evidence as well as the origins of the burdens of proof and how their definitions continues to evolve.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

I offer tips on how the use of very specific examples can help you be more compelling and persuasive in your next trial, speech or presentation.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter that offering in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial.

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

May 15 2013

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Rank #14: TLC_030: PROBATION

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In This Episode:I pull back the curtain on PROBATION.
What is it and how does it differ from parole? Probation is granted by the court on the condition that the defendant fulfill certain obligations and promises over a certain period of time in exchange for not receiving the maximum sentence allowed by law. Judges have great leeway to implement conditions of probation. They can include the universal admonitions such as, “You must obey all laws” as well as some more crime specific conditions such as requiring those convicted of a DUI to attend an alcohol awareness class. The creative use of probation can be the cornerstone for reforming our system and working towards restorative justice for non-violent and property related crimes.  TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

There will come a time when you are asked to give a presentation or you are making a closing argument and you must explain a complicated and dull bit of science or information. In this tip we discuss ways to pace your presentation so that you don’t lose your audience during these portions of your talk.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial. And be sure to check back soon for a special offer exclusively for attorneys!

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Feb 23 2014

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Rank #15: TLC_028: MANSLAUGHTER

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In This Episode:

I pull back the curtain on the laws relating to the LAW OF MANSLAUGHTER.
There are 3 types of manslaughter: Voluntary, Involuntary and Vehicular.  Within these categories we find issues of reckless disregard for human life and acts committed during misdemeanors and non-dangerous felonies. The main distinction between a charge of murder and a charge of manslaughter is the lack of the element of malice in the killing. The distinctions within the manslaughter laws themselves have to do with the intentionality of the killing itself.

Manu cases have been in the news in the past several years involving the charges of manslaughter. Some of the more famous include the case of Dr. Conrad Murray convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, Josh Brent, the former Dallas Cowboy convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the death of his friend and teammate Jerry Brown and the case of George Zimmerman where some felt that if charges were going to be filed at all that murder was inappropriate and manslaughter was the appropriate charge.

The punishment for manslaughter is ofter drastically lower than the punishment for murder, especially involuntary manslaughter. The law recognizes that the circumstances surrounding the act of killing determine a person’s culpability. The role of the defense lawyer is to investigate those circumstances and present them to the trier of fact in such a way as to argue for the appropriate charge and punishment for the unlawful killing.

TRIAL LAWYER MENTOR Quick Tip:

Some ideas about making your presentation more relatable and thereby more persuasive. We talk about how you can incorporate “universal” examples, metaphors and analogies into your talk to hook the audience and get them to relate to your speech. Also, a brief tip on finding “universals” within small niches.

LAWYERS and LAW STUDENTS:

Click here to sign up for our free newsletter where I share in depth tips and strategies for mastering the Art of the Jury Trial. And be sure to check back soon for a special offer exclusively for attorneys!

Download AUDIO here (MP3)

Jan 26 2014

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