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Winning A Federal Criminal Trial

Below are some of the strategies that our team of nationally recognized attorneys at JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC., use to win our cases.

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: THE FEDS ARE TOUGH (So are YOU)

  1. Conviction rate: Almost 95% (misleading. design defect. Put it into perspective)
  2. Mountain of evidence: Unlike State Court, Feds don’t arrest until they have an iron-clad case.
  3. What feds consider a win: They count any conviction on a multiple count indictment as a WIN
  4. What should the defense consider a win: Depends on the case and what result you’re looking to achieve
  5. Can you win: yes!!! You’re on trial because of contested issues of fact. That makes any trial a winnable proposition. If you prepare and are ready.

BASIC TRUTH ABOUT ANY TRIAL (THE BIG 10: NO MATTER THE FORUM)

  1. Campaign: Trials are campaigns (you are selling the jury on your version of events)
  2. Sell IT: Making that sale requires you to make them see the world from the same lens as you do
  3. Theme: Have a clear vision, focus and theme (like a good song has a refrain that’s repeated)
  4. Vision: Organize every thought you have around that vision and theme
  5. Entertain: Everyone likes a good and entertaining story (give them what they want)
  6. Know your case: Don’t read it, feel it (emotion and passion makes anyone more convincing. If you want other people to feel it, you must as well)
  7. Slogans work: (make America great again!!!) Can anyone name Hilary’s Slogan? If not, that’s her fault– not yours)
  8. Consistency: People remember what they hear FIRST and LAST: A concept called “Primacy and Recency”–(everything sandwiched in between should support and be consistent with your thesis (First thing you say) and build-up to the last thing you say.
  9. Connect: Make the Jury feel a connection with you and your client (You: because of your credibility, concern and knowledge of the case. Your client: because they are a victim of injustice, have been aggrieved, or are just plain not guilty)
  10. Keep it simple: Be rationale, relatable & logical… but keep it simple

KNOW WHERE YOU ARE, WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH (GIVE YOURSELF EVERY ADVANTAGE)

  1. Who’s the judge: What are their individual practice rules (communicating with the Court, motions, appearances, adjournments, written submissions)
  2. What is the judge’s reputation: What don’t they tolerate, what gets under their skin? How do they rule? Are they pro-prosecution, defendant, fair, slanted
  3. Who is your adversary: Have you dealt with them before, tried a case with them before, know anything about them? Find out
  4. What are the rules of the district: Can you bring in electronic devices, computer equipment, or do you need a judicial order? Do you already have a pass for the phone? What about any magic trick equipment?
  5. Give yourself plenty of time: Security issues in Federal Court adds time to your travel. Be there & come to play

GROUND RULES (WHAT’S IN & WHAT’S OUT: THIS WILL DRIVE YOUR THEORY) WHAT ARE THE PARAMETERS OF THE CASE?

  1. Status conference order: (Pretrial Motions, Motions in Limine, Requested Charge, Voire Dire Questions, hearings)
  2. Pretrial motions: Are you looking to suppress: a statement; physical evidence; documents, etc.
  3. Motions in limine: precluding evidence, like what (i.e. Expert witness, background of witnesses, etc.)
  4. Proposed jury instructions: What charges are you looking to get
  5. Voire dire questions: What do you propose the judge ask the jury (what kind of jury are you looking for). Pay attention during jury selection
  6. Hearings: The Court will hold hearings on all contested issues, and resolve prior to Trial
  7. Exhibits: What Exhibits help? Which ones hurt? How will you deal with to bolster your case
  8. Technology: Displaying Exhibits, Using powerpoint, Highlighting Documents, Portions of Transcripts (Wow them)
  9. Investigate government witnesses: What are their weaknesses & how will you exploit them? How they hurt you and how will you neutralize the pain
  10. Prepare your witnesses (If any): What value do they add, what evidence and documents will you introduce through them? Are they prepared for cross-examination

*The work you do long before the trial, will make for more effective work during the trial

LET’S GET IT ON (THINGS TO REMEMBER)

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: Know your case. More importantly, know their case
  2. What’s your game plan (Strategy for each witness, exhibit, adverse piece of evidence. How will you neutralize, explain, discredit)
  3. Tell your story (theme & narrative): Hammer home your vision & version)
  4. Consistent, convincing, persuasive (Stay on message & On Point
  5. Never let them see you sweat: It’s a Marathon – Not a Sprint. You could have a tough morning, but a brilliant afternoon
  6. Prejudice jury to your case in any ethical way you can
  7. Never miss an opportunity to persuade
  8. The jury is always watching (don’t react– poker face. client also)

COMPONENT PARTS (GOLDEN NUGGETS TO REMEMBER)

Prejudice jury to your case
Never miss an opportunity to persuade

CASE STUDY: EXCESSIVE FORCE TRIAL (SOUTHERN DISTRICT)

  1. Opening (battle of the narratives) 2 professors in the classroom
  2. Prosecutor: force used was excessive & unreasonable
    B. Defense: force used was necessary & appropriate under the circumstances
  3. Prosecutor: officer obstructed justice by covering it up
    B. Defense: he had nothing to hide, meeting with state & federal prosecutors & even investigators at his own agency (doc). how on earth is that obstruction
  4. Theme
    i. Theory
    ii. Vision
    iii. Story
    iv. Refrain (consistent repetition of narrative)
  5. Direct (prosecutor tells a story of excessive force & obstruction)
  6. Open-ended questions
    i. Describing events & circumstances
    ii. Introducing exhibits (Pics, documents, etc.)
    iii. Developing narrative
    iv. Telling the story
    v. Prepare witness for cross (moot your witness)
  7. Cross-examination (defense shows force necessary & no obstruction
  8. Short, yes or no questions
    i. Discredit witness (Ability to observe, bias, etc.)
    ii. Impeach (prior inconsistent statement) past record precluded
    iii. Advance your theory (don’t have witness explain)
    iv. Tell your story (attorney testifies)
  9. Closing argument (bring it home)

Jobs (Summarize & Persuade)

  1. Maximize the strengths of your case
    i. Minimize opponents weaknesses (exploit)
    ii. Technology: documents, pictures, video, transcripts
    iii. Tell your story
    iv. Organized, rationale, relatable, believable
  2. CRITICAL TRIAL COMPONENTS THAT CANNOT BE OVERLOOKED
  3. Charging conference (before closing argument)
  4. Push for jury charges that support evidence
    i. Weave into closing to relate law to facts
    ii. Pay attention after closings when the court reads
    iii. If you object to charge, make it known
    iv. If judge left something out, say so
  5. Jury Read Back
  6. Stay engaged during this process
    i. Don’t let your adversary or the judge push improper read-back
    ii. Construe the note only as broadly as it helps you
    iii. Object to any extraneous read back
    iv. Fight for read back that supports your theory

You’re A Winner!!!

For more information on Winning A Federal Criminal Trial, an initial consultation is your best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by contacting JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC., in New York today at 833-563-9522 today.