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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

THE DEATH PENALTY IS A DEAD END

Did you know that since 1989, 292 people have been exonerated by DNA evidence — 17 were inmates on death row?  

Did you know that  California has spent four billion dollars on enforcing the death penalty since 1978? 

Did you know that it takes decades (if ever) after a death sentence is handed down for an execution to happen, and all the while the victims' families don't get closure?

We have a death penalty in California but you just can read the papers to see it does nothing to stop the killing. They have a death penalty in Colorado but it didn't stop the Aurora massacre or the Colombine tragedy. Executing crazies and psychopaths doesn't prevent more of them from popping up and it surely doesn't stop them from killing. There's no evidence it stops spouses from killing each other or their kids. It doesn't prevent gangsters from bumping off rivals and innocent bystanders along the way. So what's to lose?  Let's shut down this wasteful, imperfect and ineffective killing machine and still keep these criminals off the streets forever.

Prop. 34, the SAFE California Act, will replace California’s death penalty with life in prison with no chance of parole. The state doesn’t always get it right. End the risk that we will execute innocent people while making sure convicted killers will spend the rest of their miserable lives behind bars.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FOUR STAR REVIEW FROM AUTHOR

Review by: Dr Bob Rich on June 02, 2012 : star star star star
Well written, entertaining even when discussing the inherently dry topic of the Law, this book is an excellent guide. My current work in progress has several courtroom scenes, which is why I wanted to read it, and was not disappointed.
Only caveat is, the book is specific to the USA, while my book is set in Australia, so there are differences I need to take into account.

Monday, May 28, 2012

EXCELLENT AUTHOR NEEDS LEGAL CONSULTATION!

When the Killing's Done: A Novel (Paperback)  is a captivating book, and well written. T.C. Boyle has an uncanny knack for presenting a story that seems entirely factual. He gets you to say "That guy's really done his research. He knows what he is talking about." Boyle had me believing, abandoning my innate skepticism. Then he went a bridge too far and wrote some stuff that happens to be up my professional alley.

Here's the set-up:
Dave is charged with a crime along with Wilson. Wilson cops a plea and gets a very light sentence. No explanation for the deal is provided. It seemed to me the government had a pretty strong case. But why would the government want to give one co-conspirator a light sentence while still having to go to trial on the other guy 'Dave goes to trial' unless you had an agreement for his testimony? Wilson doesn't testify. Not bloody likely, I say, to this plotting. I've been a trial lawyer for more than forty years. I'm not buying one bit of it. So a really important scene in the overall story is flawed. And it affects, or infects everything that follows. I'm not going to be a spoiler. The verdict is irrelevant to my point. Boyle is working his credibility angle with his account of a trial and he lost points with me.

Then Boyle goes off the charts and into an abyss with his account of the eviction of the sheep ranchers. I'm sorry. This kind of verbal, draconian "you've got two weeks to pack up and git" edict might have been credible in the nineteenth century but it is off the charts fanciful for what would have happened in the nineteen eighties or nineties. A real-life el patron swooping down to evict hard-working sheepherders by killing off their lambs! Selling the opportunity to kill your tenants' animals to hunters! My God. This would have been big news. There would have been lawyers up and down the coast vying to take this case pro bono and spin it into a landlord-tenant, farmers versus hunters, end-of-an-era lamenters political outrage du jour.  You can't pass this grossly illegal as well as unjust eviction off as just a circumstance. Not in the context of the way you chose to write this book.

And then Boyle, for no discernible benefit to the story, commits another round of legal mayhem, attempting to convince us that Alma, the government scientist could get arrested on the complaint of the lawyer for Dave LaJoy, that he'd been detained illegally on an island where he was a trespasser, in possession of a dead body to boot. Boyle should know well enough that it requires a charge by a D.A. and a warrant by a judge to make an arrest not committed in the presence of the police, or victim, and no D.A. is going to go after a criminal charge and get an arrest warrant on the facts Boyle presents. Much less would they require Alma to post a bond for her release from custody on Dave LaJoy's complaint! All the good work goes down the drain when Boyle fuels his narrative with crap cloaked in ersatz legalize.

"When The Killing Is Done" presents an opportunity to underscore the fact that even excellent writers should consult real lawyers, who have relevant experience, before they plunge into courtroom scenes or legal plot points. This probably goes for a lot of other kinds of expertise too. Boyle, no doubt, has done some thorough research in this book, but it is interspersed with dubious propositions. He describes a courtroom well. Unfortunately, he is a three-time loser when it comes to legal issues and ought to be put on some kind of writer's probation for lending credence to legal absurdities. Perhaps this sounds extreme, but he is exploiting his credibility in areas where he has no business being left alone unattended and after turning the last page, it is clear that all of these improbable scenes should be redacted.

Boyle writes an enjoyable book. But don't fall for his stories. Especially when he tries to go legal on you. We have enough false assumptions and wrong ideas about how courts work without Boyle's contribution, especially because he is so effective in making himself sound knowledgeable.

Now, I am not going to claim Boyle could have read See You In Court and gotten it right. I didn't foresee this circumstance, but I do recommend running these kinds of scenarios by someone who really knows what they're talking about. Especially if it is an important scene and you are looking for verisimilitude in your writing.  I know most people won't care, and say I'm quibbling, but it  just takes away from the confidence you want to have that you're not being bullshitted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CATCH THE 1970S TRILOGY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR!

 

A SHOT IN THE ARM, Part Two of my 1970s Trilogy of mystery/suspense novels is on a virtual book tour this week and next. Pop in to the blogs below and find out more.

MAY 15 - Queen Tutt's World of Escapism (Guest Post ) Queen Tutt

MAY 16 - Zee Monodee's Author's Corner (Book Feature) Zee Monodee

MAY 18 - Murders & Mysteries (Guest Post) Murders & Mysteries

MAY 23 - Elizabeth Morgan's Blog (Guest Post) Elizabeth Morgan's Blog

MAY 24 - Zee Monodee's Author's Corner (Interview) Zee Monodee

In conjunction with the tour, Part One, BURNING QUESTIONS is available at Amazon KDP, and free to Amazon Prime members. Check in to my blog 1970s Trilogy for information about giveaways to come.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: May 09, 2012 : FIVE STARS!

Review by: Wendy Laharnar on May 09, 2012 : star star star star star
See You In Court, will be a value resource when I write my courtroom scenes in my Urban Murder Mystery. And, my g'daughter is in 1st Law at Uni so I'll be able to converse with her on an intelligent level. :)
From the table of contents, you'll see this is a very thorough document. The lawyer/author has covered everything, and more, a layman needs to know. I like the clear writing style and entertaining approach to a serious subject. It's nice to have a book that takes you behind the scenes; allows you to be an insider in a closed society. This is a book I will often refer to. Thank you Barry S. Willdorf.

Spring Sale: See You In Court is now $1.00!


SEE YOU IN COURT! “What lawyers know about trials that you should too.”
is now ON SALE for ONE DOLLAR ($1.00)  at:

Get the inside scoop on trials from a trial lawyer with over forty years of in-court experience, with both criminal and civil cases. Written in a language everyone can understand. It will be the best buck you ever spent.

Barry S. Willdorf

Friday, May 4, 2012


Okay, you all know what this is: God creating Adam. But according to today's NY Times, several citizens of  newly "liberated" Tunisia were convicted of crimes because they allowed the public to see a showing of the animated film, Persepolis which has a brief frame of God depicted in it. Some of the religious extremist lawyers who were prosecuting the film's distributor and the legal and moral censors who failed to edit out the picture of God called for the death sentence! Supposedly if the public sees an artistic rendition of God, their morals will be corrupted and public order will go to hell in a hand-basket. So today I decided to join the Pope and the entire Catholic hierarchy by committing the capital offense of publishing a picture of "God." So much for the Arab Spring.   

Saturday, March 31, 2012

STAND YOUR GROUND

Florida has a law called "Stand Your Ground." It provides a new definition for self-defense, different than what the law has been since it came over on the Mayflower from Merrie Olde England. Now you don't have to retreat, or be defending home or person from a lethal attack. Now you can stay put if you are in fear of harm, pull out your concealed weapon and shoot anyone who scares you. What this boils down to is that if you feel threatened by a person of another race, just by his/her being near you, you can shoot him or her. Now the chances of a black person getting off on this defense are close to zero because we all know that white folks are generically non-threatening while black folks are just plain scary. So let's plug this law into the Trayvon Martin case.

A white, or white looking guy gets out of a truck, armed with a pistol. He chases after an unarmed black kid who is walking down the street, minding his own business. Who has the right to stand his ground under Florida law? The white guy. I rest my case.

DON DRAPER - SPOUSAL ABUSER?

Are you a Mad Men fan?  Are you from San Francisco, or have you been following the odyssey of our sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi? Did you happen to see the second hour of the Mad Men premier this past Sunday? In it Don Draper gets into an argument with his new wife, Megan. She turns away from him. He grabs her arm. (Right arm no less.) She tries to pull away, but he holds on tightly. Spousal abuse? You bet. False Imprisonment? Sure is. My question though is, who else caught this. Where is Casa De Los Madres when we need them. Arrest Don Draper!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPES: ROSS MIRKARIMI MEETS A PERFECT STORM


            The recent courtroom drama involving San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's spousal abuse case that just ended in a copped plea could benefit from a little discussion. I’m sure some the public would like to know what the hell happened. Unfortunately the press hasn’t seen fit to educate their readers about what was going on with the evidence. I am not second-guessing. Nor am I being a Monday morning quarterback. But as a former editor of the evidence section of Matthew Bender’s Trial Master, I’m going to take a shot at helping out readers who might be curious.

            To begin, it doesn’t take much to run afoul of California’s spousal abuse law. You don’t have to hurt your spouse. It’s enough to touch her or him in a way that is offensive. California Penal Code section 243(e)(1) defines spousal abuse as a battery against certain specific people, including a spouse. But a battery must be willful in that the touching must be harmful or reasonably anticipated to be offensive. Merely touching your spouse is not a battery, if it were every loving gesture would violate the law. Simply reaching out during an argument, in hope that the touch will be taken as remorseful or conciliatory, is not a battery, even if the person touched doesn’t like it. She’s got to do or say something that tells hubby: “Don’t touch me you bastard.” So if he reaches out to caress with loving intent and she pulls away, her conduct could be the cause of a bruise but it does not make a battery.

            The big piece of evidence against the sheriff was a videotape made by RedRoom virtual literary salon founder and principal, Ivory Madison. Madison is a law school grad but not a licensed attorney. Still, she knows how to prove up a case of spousal abuse. As the story goes, Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, ran from their home to that of Madison, her neighbor where she spilled out a story of spousal abuse spiced up by showing off a bruise on her arm. Madison suggested that they videotape the bruise along with a statement from Lopez. Madison gave the DA this evidence and the DA decided to prosecute the sheriff.

Lopez subsequently decided that she wanted no part of a criminal case. (Not unusual in spousal abuse cases.) The defense wanted to have the tape excluded as hearsay.  (In SEE YOU IN COURT, I explain what hearsay is -- an unsworn statement made by someone who is not testifying that is being used to prove the truth of a fact at issue.) Now the statement made by Ms. Lopez certainly was unsworn and it didn’t look like she was about to testify against Sheriff Mirkarimi. Ordinarily that would make it hearsay. Except that there are a whole lot of exceptions to the hearsay rule. One exception (California Evidence Code section 1370) is rather new (1996) and applies to spousal abuse. For the videotape to qualify as admissible evidence in a trial several conditions must be met.

First, the person who made the statement has to be unavailable. Well, a wife who doesn’t want to testify against her husband can’t usually be forced to. Ms. Lopez surely could fall into the unavailable category.

Then the statement has to be made close in time to the abuse. Check. Ms. Lopez ran from her home to Ms. Madison's.

The statement has to relate to how the injury happened. Ms. Lopez’s statement to Ms. Madison does that.

It has to be written down or recorded electronically. We’ve got us a videotape here. Check again.

Finally, the statement has to be made under circumstances that would indicate it was reliable. This includes some corroboration. Well, the bruise itself fits that corroboration bill. But the court is required to consider whether Ms. Lopez had a bias or motive to fabricate the story including whether it was made in contemplation of a lawsuit. This is where things should have gotten a bit dodgy for the prosecution. Ms. Lopez said she was making the statement to shore up a potential custody fight with the sheriff.

But the defense attacked the videotape based on a claim that Ms. Lopez thought that she was talking to an attorney and tried to get the video tossed based upon attorney-client privilege. Unfortunately, Ms. Lopez claimed a friendship with Ms. Madison so there is some reason to believe that she knew Ms. Madison was not actually a lawyer.

Worse from the point of view of the defense is the inference a court can draw from these events.  People usually can be presumed to be telling their lawyers the truth. If Lopez went running to Madison displaying the bruise and voluntarily making a video, thinking she was a lawyer, it asks a lot of a judge to assume she was lying. So in playing out the attorney-client privilege card, the defense dug itself a hole on the reliability issue.

While there is nothing in the law that prevents any litigant from making contradictory arguments, it’s a pretty bad strategy.  You can really screw yourself when you run toward your own end zone. After the defense lost the attorney-client privilege argument they ended up having to say Ms. Lopez lied to a person she though might be her lawyer. They had to say that the whole thing was a frame-up. Sheriff Mirkarimi was going to have to testify that his wife is a dirty rotten liar who is not above faking evidence. Or he was going to have to get his wife to say it. Not a good position to be in.

So much for the videotape. It’s going to get into evidence one way or another. Now for the sex and lies.

The sheriff has this ex-girlfriend. Seems she found a pair of panties in the sheriff’s bedroom that weren’t hers. The sheriff wasn’t fessing up they were his. She says he claimed they were her panties and angrily asserts she’s intimately familiar with her own underwear and knows what isn’t. And she’s ready to get on the stand. We know “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and this lady was scorned. Looks like maybe he got himself a bit of nooky while the cat was away, and it caused a fight.

But why is this little bit of dirt relevant? The prosecution has got to come up with something. The wounded woman claimed that she got a bruise on her arm during that fight the same way Ms. Lopez sustained her injury. She never called the cops about it, so all the prosecution’s got to do is get her to testify to the tiff. She’s game for that. The DA claims the sheriff has a modus operandi of putting his hands on women he’s arguing with-- committing batteries. He doesn’t hurt them. He just has a propensity for using his hands.  That could make scorned woman’s tale of woe admissible. But that’s not the whole story. What the prosecution really wants to do is dirty up the sheriff.  He’s a liar and a cheat. Hell, he’s a politician. What else is new?

So what’s a very unlucky and careless sheriff to do? He’s got to get on the stand and testify about that incident. Deny he’s a liar and a cheat. And you can bet there will be a few women on the jury who won’t like it, plus a lot of snickering. It doesn’t matter that he inflicted no harm on scorned woman. It doesn’t matter whether or not he caused a bruise. All the prosecution has to show is that he engages in offensive touching. The whole point of is to force him to take the stand, something his lawyers didn’t want in the worst way.

But if it hadn’t been for the videotape we’d never hear about the panties because there’d be no evidence of a bruise. The bruise could have been caused by a hysterical response to a benign touching and might therefore not count as sufficient corroboration. And if there hadn’t been a big brouhaha about whether Lopez believed Madison was an attorney, the tape might not have been allowed, because there seems to be no dispute that Lopez made it in anticipation of litigation. That’s plenty of reason to doubt the reliability of Ms. Lopez’s account and could have resulted in the exclusion of the video.

The key to this case was the reliability of Ms. Lopez’s statement to the camera and that issue was decided by the initial position taken by the defense. It might well have been the right decision. We don’t know what the defense knew. But once made, it was going to be next to impossible to turn a one-eighty and argue unreliability.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

DOWNTON DEBACLE

This blog is dedicated to making it easier for writers to get it right when if comes to writing about how courts work and what happens in court.  Sometimes we tend to think that it is only inferior or inept writers who write bizarre, unrealistic trial scenes. But no, today that dubious honor must go to Julian Fellowes the creator of the mass-market super-success, Downton Abbey. Yes, despite having scads of lucre, researchers by the score, and in all likelihood an abundance of lawyers on board he has managed to come up with a preposterous, pathetic excuse for a dramatic trial scene. It was so bad that I had visions of Rumpole of the Bailey dying in turns of laughter and embarrassment. What Fellowes doesn’t know about the law or trials could fill the next season. One only hopes Fellowes handled other esoterica in the plot with more care for accuracy.

Here’s the scene. Poor Mr. Bates, valet to Lord Grantham, and loyal attendant during the “African Wars” is unfortunately married a first-class bitch. Ex is a scorned woman and yes, hath fury beyond the bounds of hell.  On the other hand Bates is saintly and in love. We are compelled to pull for him. Bates tries everything to free himself of this hell whore. He’ll even give Ex his entire net worth. But she wants his pain and suffering. If anyone has a motive to kill this woman, Bates does. Bates goes off to London, where his ex-wife resides and returns with a scratch on the side of his neck. His Ex is found poisoned.

But Fellowes fails to give us a mystery. In lieu, we must endure long stretches of dialogue from every member of the household that boils down to “yup, Bates had a motive to kill the bitch.” Bizarrely, the Prosecutor calls half of the population of Downton, all of them pro-Bates, without any attempt to interview them. And the defense attorney is baffled why. Does he possess a copy of his client’s statement? Does he even know his client has made a statement? We’ll never know. One thing we do know, this would never happen in a real trial. Lawyers prepare for trials. They interview witnesses. They read statements of their clients. They concede the obvious and look for weaknesses in the other side’s case.

Fellowes gives us no weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. He wants us to be satisfied with Bates’ sterling character as providing the reasonable doubt, but character has very little sway when it comes to domestic violence, especially after a season’s worth of preparation for this inevitable event.

Fellowes seems clueless that he is shortchanging his viewers. For some inscrutable reason, Fellowes didn’t want to give the saintly Bates a defense. Didn’t anyone else want to kill his nasty Ex? Was she up to poisoning herself just to stick it to Bates? What about the poison angle? Where was Bates supposed to have gotten it? How did he administer it without her noticing it? Where’s Bumpole? Has he really got “no questions?” The way Fellowes sets it up, Bates has to be found guilty.

Then we are handed the absurdity of a reprieve. Fellowes tells us that’s because there was doubt as to premeditation. Whoa.  Wait just a minute here. Poisoning someone involves premeditation. You don’t get the goddamn Home Secretary to reprieve a convicted murderer based upon quaint logic that Bates poisoned his wife but it was somehow not in his plans. There was no premeditation issue according to the story line. Fellowes arrogantly thinks he can make it so just by saying it.

Let’s be clear. When you’ve got a client with a motive, you look for other people with motives. When you’ve got a cause of death that’s complex, read poison, you look for facts that would make it hard for the defendant to implement the cause. When you want grounds for a reprieve, you write it into the scene. You don’t call witnesses you’ve never interviewed, particularly when they may be hostile. And you don’t bore viewers or a jury proving the obvious. There’s no dramatic upside in that.

Fellowes gives us an open and shut case of premeditated homicide. So why the need for a trial? Why pretend there is reasonable doubt when you don’t bother to write in any? Why didn’t we just cut to the chase? As written, Bates did it, and it was premeditated. The Home Secretary is a fool. But what of the viewers? Why do we deserve the bum’s rush? Why couldn’t Fellowes spare an hour or so of research giving us a trial with verisimilitude and some reasonable doubt, only to have the defense fail? Why bother getting it all wrong, when a browse through See You In Court! would have resulted in a world of improvement.

        

Monday, February 6, 2012

WHAT DO LAWYERS AND AUTHORS HAVE IN COMMON?


While I was preparing my non-fiction trial guide, SEE YOU IN COURT! for publication, it came to me that it was a good reference work for writing fictitious court scenes. It is full of nuances and quirks that could lend credence to a narrative.  And that got me to wondering what, if anything, lawyers and authors have in common. Go to the mystery and thriller section of a bookstore (if you can find one of those) and you will see that a lot of authors are actually lawyers who write novels. I came to the conclusion that there must be something they have in common. But what?


Of course, they both need to know how to write. But what you write about and the forms that you use to convey your message are completely different. To begin with, lawyers tend to want to tell. And they use funny words you could never get by with in a novel; words like “notwithstanding” and “submit” (not the kinky kind) “quash” and “subsequent.”  Authors like to show and be omniscient. Sometimes they don’t even write sentences, or whole ones. You’d never get away with that in a legal brief. So, “no” authors and lawyers don’t really have writing in common.


Unless they’re extraordinarily successful, authors don’t dine where lawyers do. They don’t go business class. And they don’t usually dress in suits. Authors often need day jobs. Authors sometimes need lawyers. Lawyers rarely need authors. Lawyers practice civil or criminal law. Authors are civil or uncivil.  Lawyers need a license to practice. Authors have license.

So what accounts for the plethora of lawyer/authors?  What accounts for, John Grisham, Erle Stanley Gardner, Scott Turow, Lia Matera, John Mortimer, Richard North Patterson, Henry Fielding, Marissa Piesman and Studs Turkel? I think I have an answer: observation. Authors and lawyers are in the business of paying close attention to human behavior, body language and the physical surroundings in which events occur -- good ones, at least. 

 

Now you are saying, “Wait a minute, other occupations rely on observation too. What about cops and doctors, for example?” The difference though between those other occupations and lawyers is that the observations are generally used within the profession. More often than not, doctors report to other doctors and cops work with cops. They both tend to use lawyers when they want to translate their observations into language for public consumption. 

 

Trial lawyers, especially, are trained to closely observe jurors' responses to their questioning during a selection process called voir dire. We scrutinize documents for evidence of forgery or late creation. We examine forensic evidence. We size up witnesses in pre-trial depositions. And our task is to communicate those observations to jurors, a judge or the public in general. Authors who have that skill can ascribe to their characters behavior from nuances and quirks to more definitive conduct. Authors can make their characters sweat, blush, pull their arms across their chests or stare.  These kinds of descriptions can show the reader a characters’ personality. Readers will come to empathize or despise, based on the behavior described. Readers can pick up on these descriptions to draw their judgments, rather than having the author tell us how the character feels. Likewise the physical environment can be shown, rather than told about. The gun can still be hot to the touch but the show would be inability to hold onto it, and then perhaps licking some burnt fingers. A stiff wind can whip clothing into knots or cause a wayward piece of trash to wrap around a leg. If I were to write: “As he walked, sheets of newsprint swirled about the sidewalk and the front page of the morning rag decided to wrap tightly around his leg,” the reader might guess that it was wind that caused it.  

 

The law might call the dropping of the gun or the paper-wrapped leg “circumstantial evidence” that the gun was hot and the walk was windy. In See You In Court!, I explain that legally, circumstantial evidence is as good as a percipient narration, but in fiction,  circumstantial evidence is better. It is those kinds of details that make the best narrative. Attention to detail, through relating these small clues makes the story. So just as a lawyer is shown evidence, the author can show the reader the evidence, whether it be a weapon, a room, or a document, paying attention to clues, which constitute the circumstantial evidence that makes for the best reading. The best of the lawyer/authors possess this ability to process the evidence and then to communicate it in plain, simple, easy-to-read language.

 






Thursday, January 26, 2012

INVITATION TO WRITERS

Are you writing a legal mystery or thriller? Is there a courtroom scene in your next novel? Do you have a concern that you might be getting something wrong? Do you want to make your character look like a real insider?

I am happy to give you the benefit of my experience trying more than 100 cases of all kinds. I can't give you legal advice but as a novelist and an attorney, I can tell you how things would probably happen in the case of your character. Run it by me on this blog. I'll try to help.

Barry

ACCLAIM FOR "SEE YOU IN COURT"



Hear Ye, Hear Ye, All Rise and go immediately to a local bookstore (or computer terminal) to read “See You in Court” by Barry Willdorf, before you actually have to be in court.  Willdorf is a real find:  a seasoned, first-rate trial lawyer, who writes in accessible English rather than legalese.  His book is a wonderful primer, filled with anecdotes and insights about a system you only think you know.   It will make every legal thriller, movie, TV and news report all the more interesting, once you know the inside story.  As a bonus, it is not only fun to read, it can literally save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars by answering questions you would otherwise have to ask your own lawyer, while the billable-hour clock runs. Danny Greenberg is former President and Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society of New York.  He was formerly Director of Clinical Programs at Harvard Law School

This is an outstanding book.  It gives the reader a good picture of how lawsuits proceed in the real world of lawyers and courts.  Anyone interested in litigation as a party, witness or observer should read this book if they want to understand the process. Peter C. Carstensen, George H. Young-Bascom Professor of Law University of Wisconsin Law School
 
It’s the rare hermit who can make it through life in America these days without ending up as a juror, witness or party to a lawsuit or criminal trial.  In See You In Court!, Barry Willdorf, after decades in the legal trenches, has written the essential primer on everything people need to know to understand and survive the tribulations of trials in our litigious society. From explaining the roles played by judges, lawyers, investigators, experts, jurors, and clerks to the basics of evidence, opening statements, witnesses, cross examination, jury instructions, closing arguments and verdicts, Willdorf illuminates it all in an engaging and entertaining style that painlessly demystifying the system and helps dispel various myths and misunderstandings that have undermined confidence in our courts.”  Stephen Rohde, author of /American Words of Freedom/ and /Freedom of Assembly / past President of both the ACLU of Southern California and the Beverly Hills Bar Association and a founder of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace.

Barry’s book does what all good lawyers should do: make the law accessible to laypersons. Even when you have a good attorney at your side, it is easy to be overwhelmed when dealing with the legal system, and that is especially true for people with disabilities, including HIV/AIDS. With Barry’s lifetime of commitment to representing the underdog, he shows that he has the wit and wisdom-and the heart- to help folks during some of their most vulnerable periods.” Bill Hersch, Executive Director of San Francisco’s AIDS LEGAL REFERRAL PANEL.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

FIRST POST





THIS WAS WRITTEN FOR FOLKS WHO HAVE A COURTROOM EXPERIENCE IN THEIR PRESENT OR FUTURE, BUT IT IS ALSO A GREAT REFERENCE FOR WRITERS WHO ARE CREATING A COURTROOM SCENE. MAKE IT REAL!