Michael Steinberg the relentless Criminal Defense Lawyer
TRIAL LOG OPENING STATEMENTS – Telling the Case from your Clients perspective
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I have not been to trial in a very long time. But you never forget the tools you learn at trial college. This was a specialized intensive training that involves interpersonal skills, role playing and story telling. It is put on by the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM). I am the organization’s first Constitutional Warrior, a 5th term member pf the Board of Directors and have served on the Education Committee for over 20 years.
I got to connect with the jury, during voir dire (Jury Selection) in many wonderful ways yesterday. We talked about some really icky stuff like the shooting and their feelings. My guy is not the shooter. We also talked about my fear of judging him for his criminal past. I have a crime spree from 2000-2001 with the same,co D. All coming in. I feel a little fraudulent because my motion to keep out an uncharged prior from a month earlier was ruled on post voir dire. Of course coming in.
Many of my colleagues know I like to do my opening in the first person. I lost my suppression motion and so my client’s words are coming in. In my client’s words, I reminded them they promised to look at the charges individually and the actions of individuals. Weaving the facts elicited from the investigation and my clients words, many facts were placed before the jury. In my client’s words an explanation of the ways he tried to dissuade him and what not. I then told the jury, in my client’s words that his lawyer wanted to talk to them,again. The lawyer, me, went through the individual elements weaving the jury panel into it. By that I referenced that this,was a case of pages not the book. Appealing to the teachers on the panel, that this was like a section of trig,rather than a course in mathematics. Appealing to the IT tech on the panel this was like unraveling a sector error rather than a system failure
I just got a call from a reporter covering the case. He had never had seen the 1st,person method in action and had been covering the courts,for years. He is going to write about it. I plugged CDAM. Lets hope it works.
Before I forget this is a felony murder case. At opening the first action was to look at the family of the decedent and express condolences for their loss. I am spiritual so prayers were expressed as well. The wife of the decedent was the 1st witness. First words again condolences. Last words after soft cross, condolences and prayers
This is not about me. This is to sway those methods we learn , work. It was a tough day today. I lost a big motion that hurts my case and had to hear the wailing of the family. Something that, for me, could only show up with love during cross. I am not sure I know this softer Mike trial lawyer but today I feel good. Two years plus since my last trial. Two,years more of spiritual development
Thanks for the indulgence. Embrace the softness. I may post more thoughts as the trial progresses.
I will try to report more when I can. If you cannot tell, I frickin love to me in trial.