Watford Jackson, PLLC.

101 Avenue of the Americas, 9th Floor New York, NY 10013

24/7 365 DAYS A YEAR

WE PRACTICE IN STATE & FEDERAL COURT

Federal Crimes


Winning A Federal Criminal Trial
A. 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 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.
B. 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 & LAST: A concept called “Primacy and Recency”—(everything sandwiched in between should support & 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 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
C. 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 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 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 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

Exhibit 1 (Judge Individual Practice rules)
Exhibit 2 (Permission for Electronic Devices)

D. 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. PRE TRIAL 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 power point, 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

Exhibit 3 (Sample Judicial Memorandum and Order)
Exhibit 4 (Jury Instructions)

*THE WORK YOU DO LONG BEFORE THE TRIAL, WILL MAKE FOR MORE EFFECTIVE WORK DURING THE TRIAL

E. LETS GET IT ON (THINGS TO REMEMBER)
  1. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE: Know your case. More importantly, know their case
  2. WHATS 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. JURY IS ALWAYS WATCHING (DON’T REACT— POKER FACE. CLIENT ALSO)
F. 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

A. PROSECUTOR: FORCE USED WAS EXCESSIVE & UNREASONABLE
B. DEFENSE: FORCE USED WAS NECESSARY & APPROPRIATE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES

A. 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

i. THEME
ii. THEORY
iii. VISION
iv. STORY
v. REFRAIN (CONSISTENT REPETITION OF NARRATIVE)

2. DIRECT (PROSECUTOR TELLS A STORY OF EXCESSIVE FORCE & OBSTRUCTION)

i. OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS
ii. DESCRIBING EVENTS & CIRCUMSTANCES
iii. INTRODUCING EXHIBITS (Pics, documents, etc.)
iv. DEVELOPING NARRATIVE
v. TELLING STORY
vi. PREPARE WITNESS FOR CROSS (MOOT YOUR WITNESS)

3. CROSS EXAMINATION (DEFENSE SHOWS FORCE NECESSARY & NO OBSTRUCTION

i. SHORT, YES OR NO QUESTIONS
ii. DISCREDIT WITNESS (Ability to observe, bias, etc.)
iii. IMPEACH (prior inconsistent statement) past record precluded
iv. ADVANCE YOUR THEORY (Don’t have witness explain)
v. TELL YOUR STORY (ATTORNEY TESTIFIES)

4. CLOSING ARGUMENT (BRING IT HOME)

JOBS (SUMMARIZE & PERSUADE)

i. MAXIMIZE THE STRENGTHS OF YOUR CASE
ii. MINIMIZE OPPONENTS WEAKNESSES (EXPLOIT)
iii. TECHNOLOGY: DOCUMENTS, PICTURES, VIDEO, TRANSCRIPTS
iv. TELL YOUR STORY
v. ORGANIZED, RATIONALE, RELATABLE, BELIEVABLE

G. CRITICAL TRIAL COMPONENTS THAT CANNOT BE OVERLOOKED

1. CHARGING CONFERENCE (BEFORE CLOSING ARGUMENT)

i. PUSH FOR JURY CHARGES THAT SUPPORT EVIDENCE
ii. WEAVE INTO CLOSING TO RELATE LAW TO FACTS
iii. PAY ATTENTION AFTER CLOSINGS WHEN THE COURT READS
iv. IF YOU OBJECT TO CHARGE, MAKE IT KNOWN
v. IF JUDGE LEFT SOMETHING OUT, SAY SO

2. JURY READ BACK

i. STAY ENGAGED DURING THIS PROCESS
ii. DON’T LET YOUR ADVERSARY OR THE JUDGE PUSH IMPROPER READ-BACK
iii. CONSTRUE THE NOTE ONLY AS BROADLY AS IT HELPS YOU
iv. OBJECT TO ANY EXTRANEOUS READ BACK
v. FIGHT FOR READ BACK THAT SUPPORTS YOUR THEORY

Exhibits (Sample Jury Instructions)
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 calling (855) 928-5225 today.

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