judges

Acclaimed Attorney Investigates Dangers of a Justice System With No Juries in ‘The Vanishing Trial’

Robert Katzberg

At the time of my first trial, however, “sink or swim” was the reality, and I accepted it unquestioningly. Accordingly, I was assigned a veritable “slam dunk” case involving an undercover drug “buy and bust” with two defendants, the brothers Calvin and Reginald Smith. All I had to do was call the undercover narcotics agent, have him testify to his dealings with the defendants at their meeting in a JFK Airport hotel, introduce into evidence the drugs the defendants had given him, and then call a government chemist to testify that the drugs seized were indeed illegal narcotic substances.

In Praise of Jury Duty

Hal Gordon

The fact is that much of the time jurors are mere pawns in a game of chicken between opposing lawyers. Which side will cave first? In a criminal case, it’s a question of whether the prosecution or the defense will be the first to offer a plea bargain that the other can accept. In a civil case, it’s whether the plaintiff or the defendant will be the first to offer a settlement congenial to both.

Michigan Courts Fail to Provide Competent Representation for the Poor

Kat Aaron

More than 12 million people were arrested in America in 2011. Most of them were charged with a crime and many were poor, qualifying for a public defender. The American Council of Chief Defenders suggests that each public defender handle no more than 400 misdemeanors or 150 felonies per year; many carry caseloads two to three times those guidelines, and some much more than that. There are simply far, far more poor people needing lawyers than there are public lawyers to represent them. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright, adequate counsel for poor Americans is far from guaranteed.

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