A Nashville Federal Judge criticized the lawyer for Metro Nashville for his techniques during a civil rights trial. U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes has already ruled that the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office violated Juana Villegas’ civil rights when she was shackled during and after her labor during childbirth . The only issue is how much should be awarded in damages.
Two key points in in becoming a better trial lawyer have been demonstrated in this case . The judge got onto Metro’s attorney on two occasions . First , the court admonished Metro’s lawyer for "performing to the jury ‘ and he later attacked Ms. Villegas in cross- examination. The court commented that the attorney’s conduct " mystified this court ‘ Some lessons I discovered from the Trial Lawyers College were violated in this trial. The story of the case is what is important not the lawyer . I must admit I have been guilty as charged for doing the same thing before learning what is really important about trying cases. Also , the violent and ruthless cross- examination is sometimes not fruitful. If the lawyer kills the witness on cross examination , the jury may not feel inclined to do the same . Let the jury discover who and what the witness is about .There is an exception to that general statement of the look good cross-examination and that is police and expert witnesses are professional witnesses . You may also may be given permission by the jury to be more aggressive with the witness if that witness gives you permission by being evasive or other similar conduct.
Secondly , the court excluded proof at the trial the witness is in the country illegally. Another lesson learned from the Trial Lawyers college is don’t hide from the truth . The jury is already wondering if she is illegal . Why not deal with in jury selection and at trial . A criminal defense lawyer must recognize the danger points of any case and deal with them. I have learned to embrace most aspects of the case and not hide from them.
final argument is today . The case will soon be with the jury.