Archive for January 23rd, 2009

Today I am talking to Mark Bennett, a lawyer from Houston, Texas who specializes in Criminal defense work. Mark is also the author of the  Defending People blog – the art and science of criminal defense trial lawyering. His blog won the ABA Journal best criminal blog award in a hard won fight with Scott Greenfield’s blog, Simple Justice – more of which later.

This is the fourth podcast with US lawyers  on the theme of Criminal Law  and complements the podcasts I have done with Scott Greenfield, Gideon and Brian Tannebaum.

Today, we paint a picture of trial advocacy, start with defendants talking too much, move on to  the importance of jury selection and then look at how US trial lawyers deal with examination in chief (direct) and cross-examination.

Listen to Podcast 90: Mark Bennett, a criminal defense lawyer from Texas on the jury and the art of advocacy


Blog references:

Worst Jury Selection Advice Ever: Don’t Listen

J’Accuse (War on Drugs)

Direct link to Podcast 90 with Mark Bennett


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Charon Reports Podcast version: To err is human and other matters

There is a certain irony that two men holding high political office, one from the UK and one from the US, should suffer from  minor memory loss. The Independent reports this morning:

“Mr Straw came in for criticism for failing to declare a £3,000 donation for four years. The committee said it was “surprised and disappointed” that someone as experienced as Mr Straw had broken the rules. He accepted the gift from Canatxx Energy in 2004 to pay for a dinner to celebrate his 25 years as MP for Blackburn. The committee said Mr Straw was “negligent” and should have known better because as Home Secretary, he had brought in a 2001 law to reform the rules on political funding. The gift was only declared formally last month, following allegations that it might have raised a conflict of interest because the company sought planning permission near Mr Straw’s constituency.”

In the United States, awaiting confirmation by the Senate, is US Treasury Secretary designate Timothy Geithner who, it would appear, forgot to pay some $34,000 in taxes between 2001 and 2004. President Obama stated that this was “embarrassing” but added that Geithner’s “innocent mistake” shouldn’t keep him from taking the helm of the new administration’s urgent efforts to revive the economy.

Prime Mentalist Gordon Brown, our revered leader who is leading Britain PLC on a long march to financial ruin, has been criticised by fresh faced Mr Pilsbury lookalike David Cameron.

“Britain risks bankruptcy and a humiliating bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of Gordon Brown’s borrowing, David Cameron said yesterday….. If we continue on Labour’s path of fiscal irresponsibility, at some point – and it could be very soon – the money will simply run out.”

The man who would be King went on to insist he was not predicting a date by which the Government would “end up back at the IMF”. But he added: “What I am saying is that we are running the risk of those things happening and those are risks that no government should responsibly run.” The Independent 23 January 2009

But it is not all doom and gloom. Following the removal of restrictions on short selling of Bank stocks (It appears the Chancellor was only given a few hours notice by the FSA and was ‘furious’)… “one of London’s most successful hedge funds has made £12m in just four days by betting on a fall in the Barclays share price, a move that will heighten the controversy over so-called short-selling strategies. Lansdowne Partners, which also profited from the fall in the share price of Northern Rock at the height of its problems, sold Barclays shares last Friday – when the bank lost almost a quarter of its value in frenzied trading – and bought them back again on Wednesday after they had fallen by almost £1.” The Guardian

Well… there we are.  The weekend is almost upon us.  Have a good one.


Charon Reports Podcast version: To err is human and other matters

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