Courthouse Neutrality is Essential for Virginia DUI and Criminal Defendants
Courthouse neutrality in imagery is critical to a fair trial for Virginia DUI and criminal defendants. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I am delighted that the one Northern Virginia courthouse finally removed a decades-long confederate soldier statue on its grounds, a rural courthouse finally removed...
Racial injustice cannot be ignored in court – Virginia criminal lawyer
Racial injustice remains too common. Society has made important strides towards racial justice after Martin Luther King, Jr., shared his dream, but we remain far from reaching his goal for full racial justice. As a Virginia criminal lawyer who moved from Manhattan to attend law...
Judges are Capped by Jury Sentencing Input
Judges in a Virginia felony or class 1 misdemeanor Circuit Court jury trial sitting with a jury must first preside over a jury sentencing trial (if the jury convicts) before the judge sets the final sentence. Va. Code § 19.2-295.1. The sentencing risks of a...
Virginia criminal jury trials- Judge may keep jurors who think the defendant is more likely guilty than not
In Virginia Circuit Court, a criminal trial will be by jury unless both sides agree to waive a jury. The jury selection process is critical, not only to weed out the least fair potential jurors, but to identify such potential jurors in the first place,...
Criminal defense is war, and never for the faint of heart
Soldiers and street fighters battle without referees nor the expectation of referees' presence. They fight in the law of the jungle. As we approach four years of the buffoon-elect in chief's White House tenure, I have low overall expectations of Trump's upcoming nominees to...
When Elected Judges Overrule Juries Sparing Execution
Even in states where judges ordinarily handle sentencing in criminal cases rather than having the jury recommend the sentence, currently all states but Alabama prohibit a death sentence unless the jury recommends such a sentence. Sadly, this effectively means that Alabama judges -- all elected...
The genius of Virginia courtrooms that have jurors in front of the judge
Human nature leads jurors to look to the trial judge for reassurance, comfort and guidance, in the midst of warring lawyers, legalese, and witnesses running from the dull to interesting to incomprehensible and everything in between.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Needs to Help the Jury Avoid Buyer’s Remorse
The right criminal defense lawyer truly can make the difference between a favorable and unfavorable trial outcome, not only through case preparation, but by fully internalizing and well-executing the importance of the lawyer's role in swaying the jury in the right direction.
Winning an acquittal calls for helping the jury feel reasonable doubt in their bellies
Preparation is essential for any trial. Then, to bring the trial to higher quantum levels of persuasion, the criminal defense lawyer must feel the fire for his or client in the belly, and share that fire with the jury in a persuasive way.
Lawyers must know the terrain of the courthouse before court day
A hilarious story -- but pathetic were it not fiction -- came across a lawyers' listserv once, about an out-of-state lawyer who arrived for trial in a small Louisiana town. Soon after the lawyer's arrival, the judge took the bench, and greeted everyone in French.