I’ve spoken at 2 CLEs in the last few weeks. Both presentations were to groups of public defenders. The first was on the topic of preserving a record on appeal. And the second was on motions practice in child abuse cases. Whenever I speak on these topics, I invariably hear the same response from folks

If you have an upcoming trial, try this: spend thirty minutes, and draft one single motion. Don’t know what to ask for, then think of it this way. What’s one decision you would like from the judge that would make the trial more fair for your client. That’s it. One motion.

You obviously could set

rubber stamp.jpgJudges seldom grant motions for new trial. I have various theories about why. And they range from being sympathetic to the judge to utter cynicism. Sometimes, there just wasn’t any harmful error. Sometimes, the judge couldn’t fathom that he made a mistake. Sometimes, it’s just too dang expensive to try the thing twice. And some

Hearsay.JPGIf there’s one evidentiary issue that you will encounter in your next jury trial, it’s hearsay. It comes up all the time, and some lawyers and judges don’t have a firm grasp on it or its exceptions. Beyond that, trial lawyers often stop short of fully developing their record because they fail to make an