Should You Handle That Misdemeanor Case?

180883290You get a call from a family member, friend, or client who’s either been arrested or will be soon with a misdemeanor, such as a DUI. Maybe you’re new to practice or criminal law isn’t your usual area. Should you take on the case?  Follow these steps before deciding whether to jump in. Continue reading

How to Use Technology for Effective Cross-Examination

presentationAA049409The following is a guest blog post by Jeff Bennion, a solo practitioner in San Diego who specializes in personal injury and consulting on e-discovery and litigation technology.

A good cross-examination should come off as scripted. California Evidence Code §767(a)(2) allows for leading questions on cross-examination, and a good trial attorney should lead the witness through the narrative using only questions that he or she knows the answer to. But things don’t always go according to plan. When a witness gives an answer that you did not expect or that is contrary to what you learned in discovery, you need to have a plan for showing your impeachment evidence to the jury. Continue reading

Should You Move for Mistrial?

90279590Certain things that happen during trial may be so improper and prejudicial that they deprive a party of the right to a fair trial. That’s when counsel may move for a mistrial. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Like everything else at trial, whether to move for mistrial is a tactical decision. Continue reading

Keeping Tabs on a Bad Neighbor

484190499When a conflict arises between neighbors, attorneys often recommend that their clients keep a record of events. A written log of dates and times is one thing, but a video or audio recording can easily step over the line from keeping tabs to violating privacy rights. Continue reading

7 Facts Every Judge and Attorney Should Know When Domestic Violence Involves Strangulation

Family Justice Center AllianceThe following is a guest blog post by Hon. Alan Pendleton, Tenth Judicial District Court Judge in Anoka, Minnesota and Gael B. Strack, JD, CEO and Co-Founder of the Family Justice Center Alliance in San Diego.

The arrests of Ravens running back Ray Rice and San Francisco 49er defensive tackle Ray McDonald have, once again, thrust the ugly specter of domestic violence into the forefront of American consciousness. One of the most terrorizing and lethal forms of violence used by men against their female intimate partners is strangulation. Strangulation is much more common and serious than professionals have realized. Judges and attorneys who deal with perpetrators and victims of domestic violence need to be well-versed in the facts about strangulation; the most effective weapon against domestic violence is education and training. Continue reading

Don’t Let Immigration Status Sabotage Your Client’s Sentence

489194765The following is a guest blog post by Norton Tooby, who has a national law practice in Oakland, California, providing expert consultation and representation on immigration consequences of criminal convictions, post-conviction relief, and criminal defense of noncitizens.

The Supreme Court has focused attention on the need to advise clients accurately on the specific immigration consequences of a guilty plea. Padilla v Kentucky (2010) 130 SCt 1473. But it’s also essential that defense counsel accurately advise clients about the sentencing consequences of his or her immigration status. Counsel must also do whatever is possible to prevent a defendant’s immigration status from destroying his or her opportunities for the alternatives to incarceration used in most criminal cases that result in sentences.

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What to Do about an Incompetent Interpreter

455104761A witness who would otherwise be incompetent because he or she can’t understand or speak English can be made effectively competent by using an interpreter. But what happens when the interpreter is accused of being incompetent? Continue reading

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