Online Criminal Jury Charge Generator

Last week, the AOC indicated in a Notice to the Bar not only updates to the Model Criminal Jury Charges (which you can see by clicking here) but also revealed a new online Criminal Jury Charge generator available as of Friday, Feb. 1, 2013.  This includes the ability to:

1) Select the charges that are needed for the criminal trial;

2) Combine them in the order they will appear in the final document;

3) Select the gender of the defendant and automatically change all singular pronouns, such as “he/she,” “his/her,” “him/her,” and “himself/herself” throughout the charges;

4) Select whether to keep or delete the footnotes; and

5) Generate a Word document that can be saved on the person’s computer and edited like any other Word document.

Amazing.  Now if only we could ALL get in-office access to the full Promis Gavel system...

See the Notice to the Bar here.


OJ Simpson Trial Closing Arguments

I happened upon a good Youtube channel that houses what I believe is everything that occurred in the courtroom in the 1995 OJ Simpson murder trial after the State and defense had rested.  Simpson was allege to have murder his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles.  The media coverage was overwhelming.  The videos have closing arguments to the jury, as well as arguments about various housekeeping and presentation issues to Judge Ito.  If anything, it's great watching the late Johnnie Cochrane in action.  You can watch it here.

Also worth a listen is the mock closing argument by Vincent Bugliosi that can be found here.

Facebook Data and the Stored Communications Act

Below is an article from about Facebook data and the Stored Communications Act, or more to the point, how Facebook isn't always cooperative:

U.S. courts have a structural bias against “guilty” verdicts, but when it comes to Facebook data the situation is reversed: Social media activity is more readily used to convict you in a court of law than to defend you.

That’s because prosecutors generally have an easier time than defense attorneys getting private information out of Facebook and other social networks, as highlighted in an ongoing Portland murder case. In that case, the defense attorney has evidence of a Facebook conversation in which a key witness reportedly tells a friend he was pressured by police into falsely incriminating the defendant.

Facebook rebuffed the defense attorney’s subpoena seeking access to the conversation, citing the federal Stored Communications Act, which protects the privacy of electronic communications like e-mail – but which carves out an exemption for law enforcement, thus assisting prosecutors. “It’s so one-sided … they cooperate 110 percent anytime someone in the government asks for information,” one Oregon attorney told the Portland Oregonian, citing a separate case in which Facebook withheld conversations that could have disproved a rape charge, but turned over the same conversations when the prosecution demanded them.

Other defense attorneys voice similar complaints, and the judge in the murder case went so far as to call Facebook “flippant” and “frustrating” in its handling of the defense’s subpoenas. Facebook, for its part, has said it is inundated with judicial requests and tries to handle them uniformly within the confines of the law.

The trouble, it would seem, is that the law itself is not so uniform. As more and more communication shifts onto social networks like Facebook, the pro-prosecution bias of the Stored Communications Act is going to look less like a peculiar legislative oversight and more like a frightening erosion of the right to a fair trial. And if Facebook and its competitors want people to share more freely online, they should use their lobbying resources to fix that particular law.

Cross Examination Blog

There really isn't much to say about this link.  It's a blog that is updated fairly regularly.  It has assorted information about cross-examination.  Give it a whirl.


Also, if you have the chance, get involved with mock trial competition.  I judged my first last night and it was very eye-opening.

F. Lee Bailey Cross Examination

F. Lee Bailey is The Man.  Until he was disbarred, he was one of the rock stars of the criminal defense bar.

Here is footage of him giving advice to lawyers.  It's peppered with footage of him cross-examining one of the investigators in the O.J. Simpson trial.

Here is more footage of him cross-examining during the O.J. Simpson trial.