• Theology,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Lawyer Presentations Without PowerPoint: Charles Laughton and The Fiery Furnace

    At trial in a white-collar or civil business case, lawyers sometimes complain that the material or documents they must work with are so old, so familiar or so different from everyday language and commerce that there is no way to keep the attention of judge and jury. Not so.  Just watch as Charles Laughton reads The Fiery Furnace on the Ed Sullivan Show (1960). And, delivered decades before a PowerPoint deck, laser pointer, “elmo” or any other such dreadful presentation tool was available.  (Indeed, delivered without notes, for that matter).   In case you need a transcript go-by, here it is (from Daniel 3:1-30).  Personally, for the most obscure musical…

  • Corporate counsel,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    “Isn’t pretty much everyone you represent a criminal? Why use tax money for that?” | An Interview With Federal Public Defender Kevin Butler

    We took a few minutes and sat down with Kevin Butler, the Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of Alabama.   Before he was appointed in 2012, the district was one of only four federal judicial districts, out of 94 nationwide, that lacked some form of public defender office to represent indigent criminal defendants. If you are in the corporate world, I can hear you right now.  You’re reminding yourself that you are an honest businessperson.  If you are a lawyer — internal or external — you are reminding yourself that you do not represent defendants in the guns, drugs or child-porn sectors of the economy.  Better to go read…

  • Costs, Budgets and Fees,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Take The Deal or Go To Trial? Exactly.

    The awful pressure to plead guilty, brought on by the significantly enhanced sentences that the Government often seeks where a defendant asserts his right to a trial, is highlighted in the media in drug cases, as here: Prosecutors Draw Fire for Sentences Called Harsh. For white-collar defendants — businesspeople who may be otherwise wholly unacquainted with the criminal justice system — the combination of mandatory minimums, ardent prosecutors and a public consciousness that prefers to blame for their woes abstractions (“Wall Street” or “the accountants” or “bankers”) rather than individual choices means that going to trial is almost impossible.  Plus, the costs can be prohibitive. Indeed, when a federal judge…

  • Costs, Budgets and Fees,  Evidence,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Civil Lessons From Criminal Trials (on YouTube)

    Criminal Trials.  Civil Lessons. This recent talk on Civil Lessons From Criminal Trials  is primarily directed to internal counsel; what they should think about when hiring outside counsel; and how they should review that lawyer’s plan to defend and resolve the case.  It may be of some interest, though, to outside counsel looking for a different perspective on handling his or her civil case. Here is the (very short) written Handout.  

  • Brady/Giglio,  Ethics,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Fourth Circuit Rips United States Attorney’s Office For Brady Non-Disclosure

    As noted by the White Collar Law Prof blog, here — Fourth Circuit Rebukes United States Attorney’s Office — this criticism of a United States Attorney’s Office for repeated Brady-disclosure problems is unusual.  If nothing else, the Fourth Circuit is generally a law-and-order bench, which lends the criticism greater force.  Here are some highlights: A cursory review of this Court’s opinions reveals recent consideration of at least three cases involving discovery abuse by government counsel in this district.   Mistakes happen. Flawless trials are desirable but rarely attainable. Nevertheless, the frequency of the “flubs” committed by this office raises questions regarding whether the errors are fairly characterized as unintentional.  …

  • Bank Fraud,  Evidence,  Insider Trading,  Securities Fraud,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    New DOJ Cases From the Financial Crisis? Look For This Criminal/Civil Hybrid

    A good summary by Peter Henning, here —   DOJ Financial Crisis Cases?  — about possible future cases arising from the financial crisis and the Government’s use of a FIRREA provision.  In part: But pursuing criminal cases from the financial crisis gets increasingly difficult, especially against individuals, because unlike a good bottle of wine, evidence does not age well. Memories dim and the chance of finding the “smoking gun” e-mail or recording that can help implicate a defendant in a fraudulent scheme becomes less likely with the passage of time. Mr. Holder will more likely pursue charges under a civil statute that has become the Justice Department’s favorite tool of late against…