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Trial Advocacy in Action: 20 Exercises to Sharpen Your Criminal Case Skills

What do you get when you cross a hypothetical, fact-intensive mock trial case file with nearly two dozen leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the field of criminal procedure? You get Trial Advocacy in Action: 20 Exercises to Sharpen Your Criminal Case Skills, by Brent E. Newton, a unique hybrid text that merges a realistic complex federal prosecution with real high-court decisions.
Publisher: NITA

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Book :Softbound; 230 pages
ISBN: 9781601564764
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ISBN: 9781601565068
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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 Teaching notes are also available.

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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?

Jury Selection

Legal Issues Arising during Trial

Motion for Judgment of Acquittal

Jury Instructions, Closing Arguments, and Jury Deliberations

Sentencing Phase

Postconviction Litigation

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