In trying a case, a defense attorney will work to highlight the favorable facts of your case and to show the State has not proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. He will do this in the process of examining the defense witnesses and cross-examining the State’s witnesses. The case will be summarized and important points highlighted in opening and closing arguments. Your attorney will also object to various components of the State’s case based on trial procedures and the rule of law.
Many people are worried that if they’ve been charged with a crime that there will automatically be prison time. However, prison time tends to be less common of a potential outcome in the majority of criminal cases, especially if the crime is non-violent and you have no or very little previous criminal history. Many cases can be resolved with community service or treatment programs and often sentences are probationary in nature rather than requiring active time. This of course depends predominantly on the charges against you and your criminal history.
The state caused my mother to die three months after they took her from her home and placed her in a nursing home, where she refused to eat and developed a giant bed sore. I have the evidence. I had the funeral home take pictures of her body. She weighed only 85-90 pounds all her life. When she died in the nursing home, she barely weighed 60 pounds. Before they took her from her home, the only physical problem she had was slight dementia. The trauma caused her to stop eating.
Try to maintain a subtle, composed smile at all times. “Practice in the mirror. You don’t want to look like a crazy person. But you might discover that a subtle, practiced smile looks friendlier and exudes more confidence than your natural expression does at rest. There’s truth to that 1980s deodorant slogan, ‘Never let them see you sweat.’ Your star witness buckles under cross-examination? Smile your subtle, practiced smile. Unexpected testimony shocks you? Subtle smile. If you frown or rock backward in surprise, a juror might conclude that you think your case has been undermined. If you keep your neutral, subtle smile, it instead says: ‘Everything’s going my way, just as I expected, all part of my master plan.’”
Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.
I’m not sure we did capture all the possible cases. The highly publicized cases, like DACA and the travel ban, are obvious. Nobody seems to keep some sort of master list of everything else. So Deanna and I began to track them down using a variety of sources. We wound up with the number 63, which even since we wrote the piece has increased to about 68.
Cornell’s Legal Information Institute is celebrating Constitution Day by publishing the first publicly-available web version of the Congressional Research Service’s Constitution Annotated, a non-partisan publication that helps readers appreciate how Americans’ collective understanding of our governing principles has changed throughout our history on timely issues such as the scope of presidential power, limits on free speech, or the right to bear arms. Read More Here
6. Work on your tone of voice. “I struggled for years to find mine. I was torn at different points between seeming too young, too academic or too strident (another female pitfall). You want to come across as smart but not smarmy, warm but not cloying, passionate but calm. It’s a difficult balancing act for anyone, but it’s especially tough for young lawyers and female litigators.
Another key aspect was that Judge Neubauer tried to position herself as a moderate and independent judge, despite being very connected to the Democratic Party and Planned Parenthood. When voters were informed of her connections to socialist policies and infanticide-supporting groups, it helped Hagedorn. Our organization, American Majority Action, saw this as we went door to door and spoke to voters in real time. We focused on voters in seven counties across the state. Our survey results showed a 10+% shift to Hagedorn over the final two weeks as more voters were informed of Neubauer’s radical ties. In places where we knocked on doors, we saw votes shift by 15% or more from their 2018 totals. In Oostburg, where we spoke with hundreds of voters, we saw Hagedorn receive 361 more votes than Screnock in 2018. This happened in communities all across the state. Face-to-face communication is the best way to win over voters in any election, and given the unfair attacks by liberals in this case, it proved particularly effective.
In almost all situations, a negotiated solution to a dispute is quicker, less expensive and more private than litigating in court. Often, judges require litigants to attempt to reach agreement using a trained facilitator called a mediator before they will be allowed to move forward to a courtroom trial. Take full advantage of the available opportunities for mediation. Cooperate fully with the mediator's requests, and see if it's possible to arrive at a negotiated deal that both you and the other side can live with.
Study the statute of limitations for your state. Each claim brought by a plaintiff must be brought within a certain amount of time. For example, a breach of contract claim in New York must be brought within six years from the date of the breach. A lawsuit for defamation brought in Utah must be brought within one year. A prosecutor in Colorado must charge you with misdemeanor theft within 18 months of your alleged shoplifting.
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Ensure that all media moments get maximum media coverage. Oftentimes, state LGBT groups simply didn’t have the capability to shape an opportunity for the press, pitch the story, and secure solid coverage in print and broadcast media. As a result, Freedom to Marry created an in-house capacity to do just that. We’d work with local organizers and attorneys to shape opportunities and maximize likelihood of coverage. In certain states, like Wyoming, this resulted in several strong, front-page stories in the state’s most important newspaper as we rolled out a list of prominent Republicans and clergy who were in support of the freedom to marry. We’d ensure that signers onto amicus briefs who we knew were newsworthy were available to speak to the press, sometimes holding media calls with key amici and other times offering exclusive stories to key outlets. And we’d work closely with the legal teams, local reporters covering the legal cases, and editorial boards to ensure they had access to attorneys and plaintiffs at key moments (deadlines for filing briefs, lead-up to oral arguments, etc.), had the chance to ask questions, and understood our side of the case. And in every situation, once we’d secure a news story, positive editorial, or powerful broadcast piece, we’d amplify it through our Digital Action Center.
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I'd also like to mention for those of you who are looking for Child Support help, this is not a good book for that. It has a tiny section on Child Support, then leaves you hanging. This may be because laws vary so much, but I thought I'd at least point it out. The book is more for general concepts, so the info falls short once you begin specializing in certain subject matters.
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That’s why Freedom to Marry’s strategy – while always building toward a win in the Supreme Court, and very much embracing litigation as a key methodology – was to marshal and invest energy and resources in making as strong a case in the court of public opinion as our advocates and plaintiffs were also making in the court of law. Here’s a look at key tactics we employed to creating the climate to win and hold victories in the courts.
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During your trial, you'll probably give your own testimony, question witnesses (both those who support you and those who support your opponent), and present arguments about why you should win the case. To keep track of the questions you want to ask, the points you want to make in your argument, and the facts you have to prove to win the case, put together a trial notebook. You can use a simple three-ring binder with tabs for each section. For help putting together your notebook, seeRepresent Yourself in Court, by Paul Bergman and Sara Berman (Nolo).
Many people presume that judges issue rulings in court based simply on the facts at hand, without public opinion playing any role at all. However, history tells us that how judges read laws and constitutions very much reflects where public opinion is (or, at least, what they think the public will accept). Leading up to the final Supreme Court marriage victory, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview that “there hasn’t been any major change…in which there wasn’t a groundswell among the people before the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on the inclusion in the equality concept of people who were once left out.”
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There was a study conducted in the Supreme Court Economic Review that shows why litigation financing can be practical and beneficial to the overall court system and lawsuits within the court. This study concluded that the new rules that were set for litigation financing actually did produce more settlements. Under conservative rules, there tended to be fewer settlements, however under the older rules they tended to be larger on average.
Identify evidence and witnesses. The parties in a lawsuit have the right to request copies of documents in each other’s possession or control in a process called “discovery.” In discovery, you can also request that the other party answer questions, either orally or in writing. If you request a document and the other side claims not to have it, research whether or not they have destroyed it.
The Las Vegas Municipal Court offers the Habitual Offender Prevention & Education (HOPE) Court. It is an alternative approach to sentencing that offers repeat offenders structured programs to try to help them rebuild their lives. The court has been featured in the local media because of its success. The target goal of HOPE Court is to decrease instances of criminal activity committed by an increasing large group of offenders who repeatedly consume large dollar amounts of city resources because they repeatedly end up back on the streets—loitering; being picked up again and again by police officers; back in city jail; back in court; and back in front of the judge. HOPE Court clients are indigent; they are not able to self-pay.
It is likewise important that the "plaintiff selects the proper venue with the proper jurisdiction to bring his lawsuit." The clerk of a court signs or stamps the court seal upon a summons or citation, which is then served by the plaintiff upon the defendant, together with a copy of the complaint. This service notifies the defendants that they are being sued and that they are limited in the amount of time of a reply. The service provides a copy of the complaint in order to notify the defendants of the nature of the claims. Once the defendants are served with the summons and complaint, they are subject to a time limit to file an answer stating their defenses to the plaintiff's claims, which includes any challenges to the court's jurisdiction, and any counterclaims they wish to assert against the plaintiff.