Trial Advocacy in Action: 20 Exercises to Sharpen Your Criminal Case Skills
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Defendant Reginald McKay, a mentally disturbed American who became a "home-grown" Islamic terrorist, poisoned members of a Jewish temple during Passover seder. After one of the poisoned congregants died, the Feds got a lucky break thanks to an eyewitness and modern computer forensics and quickly built a death penalty case against McKay. Newton's case file, United States v. McKay, is built around the tragic story of McKay and his victims and includes twenty advocacy exercises from all major stages of a criminal case.
Each of these twenty exercises will introduce a wrinkle-involving a constitutional challenge to procedures or evidence-that students then analyze through the lens of the Supreme Court's decisions in landmark criminal procedure cases such as Batson v. Kentucky, Jackson v. Virginia, and United States v. Cronic, among others. Taken as a whole, these exercises track the maneuverings of a complex criminal defense and prosecution, starting with pretrial motions; continuing through jury selection, trial, and sentencing; and concluding with postconviction motions. An instructor using Trial Advocacy in Action may, as desired, direct students either to prepare short written pleadings or to practice oral advocacy in support of their legal arguments.
This fusion of factually compelling scenarios and intellectually challenging legal doctrines creates a robust learning experience that seeks to hone students' skills regarding both legal analysis and legal advocacy concerning constitutional issues that arise throughout the entire course of a criminal case. Trial Advocacy in Action is ideal for use in upper-level criminal procedure classes, law school mock trial competitions, and continuing legal education (CLE) seminars for new criminal practitioners.
Law professors may request the statement of the case in United States v. McKay and a sample advocacy exercise from the book by emailing ReviewCopy@lexisnexis.com. Teaching notes are also available.
Table of contents
A Brief Overview of a Federal Criminal Prosecution, Arrest, Complaint, Initial Appearance, Detention Hearing, and Indictment
Pretrial Proceedings (Pretrial Motions and Discovery)
Guilty Plea or Trial?
Legal Issues Arising during Trial
Motion for Judgment of Acquittal
Jury Instructions, Closing Arguments, and Jury Deliberations
Statement of the Case
Exercise 1: Pretrial Motions (Suppression)
Exercise 1A: Motion to Suppress Evidence of McKay's Computer Seized by FBI Agents
Exercise 1B: Motion to Suppress McKay's Incriminating Statement (Miranda)
Exercise 1C: Motion to Suppress Suggestive Pretrial Photographic, Identifi cation, Identification in Live Pretrial Lineup, and In-Court Identification
Exercise 2: Pretrial Motions (Nonsuppression)
Exercise 2A: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss § 247 Count as Exceeding Congress's Commerce Clause Authority
Exercise 2B: Defendant's Motion for the Appointment of an Independent Psychiatric Expert for McKay
Exercise 3: Voir Dire Issues
Exercise 3A: Defendant's Motion to Strike a Prospective Juror for Cause as Biased "As a Matter of Law" ("Implied Bias")
Exercise 3B: Defendant's Objection to Prosecutor's Religion-Based Peremptory Strikes
Exercise 4: Objections During Trial
Exercise 4A: Defendant's Objection to Prosecution Expert's Hearsay Testimony (Confrontation Clause)
Exercise 4B: Prosecution's Objection to Defendant's Proposed Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness Confrontation Clause)
Exercise 4C: Defendant's Objection to Prosecutor's Closing Argument
Exercise 5: Motions for Judgment of Acquittal
Exercise 5A: Defendant's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal on § 247 Count (Ground One)
Exercise 5B: Motion for Judgment of Acquittal on § 247 Count(Ground Two)
Exercise 6: Jury Instructions and Deliberations
Exercise 6A: Defendant's Objection to the Trial Court's Refusal to Define "Reasonable Doubt"
Exercise 6B: Defendant's Motion for a New Trial Based on the District Court's Re-Reading of a Jury Instruction Outside the Presence of Defense Counsel
Exercise 7: Sentencing Issues
Exercise 7A: Defense Objection to Out-of-Court Statements of Confidential Informant (Confrontation Clause)
Exercise 7B: Prosecution's Objection to Defendant's Sister's "Execution Impact" Testimony
Exercise 7C: Defense Objection to the Prosecutor's Religiously Based Closing Argument
Exercise 8: Postconviction Issues
Exercise 8A: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claim Based on Original Trial Counsel's Representation of McKay at the Capital Sentencing Phase
Exercise 8B: Brady Claim Based on Prosecutor's Nondisclosure of Evidence
Exercise 8C: Juror Misconduct Claim