In the last few weeks , I have not posted much on the blog . I traveled to Dubois , Wyoming for three weeks and attended the Trial Lawyers College . The Trial Lawyers College was founded by Gerry Spence in 1994. My thoughts were I needed to learn something new . Over three weeks , I attended over 140 hours of training and developed new concepts to help my clients. Also , I made some life long friendships with some of the finest lawyers across America.
Over the years , Gerry Spence won cases time and time again . He developed some different approaches to the art of a jury trial. Most involve relying on discovering the story of the case. In any story , the characters are important. Lawyers refer to characters as witnesses. Gerry has written and spoken on preparing your witness and the qualities of a great witness.
In a criminal trial , one of the toughest decisions for a citizen accused to make is whether to testify in their own behalf. There is an inherent danger in calling your client as a witness in a criminal case. Most assistant district attorneys dream about cross-examining a citizen accused of a crime. A well prepared cross examination will frighten the citizen , make them angry , leave him or her confused. in some cases , It will go on and on until the witness looks like they are evasive , hostile , and can’t keep their story straight. A good cross examination will leave a innocent citizen accused appearing guilty.
How do you combat the vicious cross examination ? First preparation is the key. Often , criminal defense attorneys practice the direct of their client , but often ignore the cross examination.However , a witness can leave a great impression with the jury if they have three qualities;
- A great witness must remain calm.
- A great witness must remain courteous.
- A great witness must remain considerate.
I would like to thank Gerry Spence , the instructors at the Trial Lawyers College , and the staff. From time to time I will be writing about more of the concepts.