What Is A Jury Trial No. 6: The Closing Door

  No one gives a damn about the things I give a damn about. The liberties that we can’t do without seem to disappear like ghosts in the air. When we don’t even care, it truly vanishes away.             Jason Isbell, Alabama Pines In this jury trial series, we’ve been through history, television and the […]

What Is A Jury Trial (No. 5): Atticus Finch Disbarred

Fictional lawyers in the movies have generally had a better run than real lawyers on entertainment television. But consider the iconic Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’: He violated client confidences when he told his children to pity their belligerent, invalid, bigot of a neighbor, Miss Dubose, who was addicted to morphine. This chapter […]

What is a Jury Trial (No. 4)?

When George Mastin rolled into town with his “Unparalleled Exhibition of Oil Paintings”, it was a sensational event by late 19th Century standards – enough to bring out the whole community. Broadsides on barn doors and tavern walls announced the happening, including historical and religious lectures. The Erin Twin Brothers would be there to clog dance. […]

What Is A Jury Trial (No. 2)?

Cain and Abel, Albrecht Durer. We aren’t ready to talk about Nancy Grace quite yet. To get that right, more background is required. But first, some ancient political philosophy. For all judges, sovereign and subordinate, if they refuse to hear proof, refuse to do justice: for though the sentence be just, yet the Judges that […]

What Is A Jury Trial (No. 1)?

The Jury consequently invests the people … with the direction of society.             Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America   This series is about jury trials. Conflict has been used to resolve disputes for centuries – perhaps as long as time itself. Before trials, opposing sides would meet on a field for a battle or […]

Why I’m A Trial Lawyer (No. 4)

Abraham Lincoln’s notes for a law lecture (discussed in the previous post here) are the subject of a ‘Professionalism Movement’ in the legal profession: the idea is that real change toward a better (more ethical) practice is caused not by changes to Model Rules but by freely acting agents – lawyers who voluntarily aspire for […]

Why I’m A Trial Lawyer (No. 3)

  Early in his career, lawyer Abraham Lincoln was a voracious reader of everything from poetry to newspapers. In 1837, his attention was fixed on a wave of violence and economic turmoil sweeping the country. He was convinced that America’s Founding principles demanded a  renewed focus on respect for laws and a conscious turning away […]