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Mack  Arnold 
Jennifer & Mark  Bennett 
Don  R.  Cantrell 
Christopher  L. Carlson 
Arnold  S.  Cohn 
Paul  J.  Coselli 
Jerald  D.  Crow 
Logan  Dietz 
J. Gordon  Dees 
Rick G.  DeToto 
Christopher Downey 
Danny  Easterling 
Ami  Michelle Feltovich 
Richard  Frankoff 
Allen  J.  Guidry 
Stephen  H.  Halpert 
Thomas  M. Henderson 
Paul  A.  Kubosh 
Scott Markowitz 
Kenneth  E.  McCoy 
David  D.  Mitcham 
Richard  L.  Moore 
Tad A.  Nelson 
Wendell  A.  Odom,  Jr. 
Anthony Osso 
Michael  H.  Pham 
Thomas  A.  Radosevich 
Earl S.  Spielman 
James  T.  Stafford 
Charles  Stanfield 
William  H.  Van  Buren 
Joseph  R.  Willie" 
W. Troy  McKinney 
Stanley G.  Schneider 
Kevin  D. Fine 
Shawna  L.  Reagin 
Bo  Hopmann 
Jonathan  Munier 
Grant  Scheiner 
Robb  Fickman 
Dean  Blumrosen 
Todd  Dupont" 
Doug  Murphy 
Tucker  Graves 
Paul  St.  John 
Michael Pena 
Katherine  Scardino 
Gerardo  Montalvo 
Steven  Owsley 
Earl  Musick 
JoAnn  Musick 
Feroz  Merchant 
Melissa  Martin 
Russell  Webb 
Vivian  King 
Wayne  Hill 
James  Randall  Smith 
David  Fleischer 
Robert  Eutsler 
Alex G.  Azzo 
The  Kahn  Law Firm 
Jay  W.  Burnett 
Juanita  Barner 
Rand  Mintzer 
Casie Gotro 
Robert  K.  Loper 
Sarah  V.  Wood 
David Jones 
David Klatts 
5 Winning  Worriors 
9  HCCLA's  2004 Holidoy  Porty 
HCCLA OFFICERS   2004·2005 
Wendell A, Odom, Jr.
Robert Fickmon
Vice President
Mark Bennett
David Kiatta
Patrick McConn
Past President
Stanley G, Schneider
Tom Berg
Sean Buckley
Neal Davis
Nicole DeBorde
Todd DuPont II
Rosa Eliodes
Ami Michelle Feltovich
Richard FronkoPP
Don Gerson
Randall Kallinen
Melissa Martin
Marjorie Meyers
JoAnne Musick
James StaPPord
Charles StanPield
Jim Sullivan
We have atendency to want to sum things up at the end of the year, reflecting on its triumphs and
197 1· 2003 
C. Anthony friloux disappointments and perhaps clOSing out the balance sheet on debts owed and paid. Unfortunately, my
Stuart Kinard
memory no longer perrnits much revisiting of the past. so we'll focus instead on the future,
George Luquette
Morvin D. Teague
Dick DeGuerin
Next year will bring many new features to The Defender. "Perversions," which illuminate some of the more
W,B. House, Jr, ludicrous abuses of power at the appellate court level, has been on hiatus but will be back in full force,
David R, Bires
The number of intellectually dishonest, factually distmted opinions issuing from just our two local courts of
Woody Densen
appeal provides more fodder on aregular basis than we have space.
Will Gray
Edward A, Mallett
Carolyn Garcia
In addition to riding herd on the appellate courts, we plan to begin exposing those egregious examples
Jock B, Zimmerman
of judicial misconduct that trial lawyers encounter on an almost daily basis down at the Crirninal Justice
Cly de Williams
Center, Judges that refuse to follow black-letter law, mistreat lawyers and citizens accuselj, unabashedly
Robert Pelton
Candelaria Elizondo cater to the prosecution, revoke bonds unreasonably, refuse to appoint lawyers to defendants on bond, etc.
Allen C. Isbell
-- no longer will they be able to flourish under the conspiracy of silence that has shielded thern for so long,
David Mitcham
We encourage all who witness such injustice to report it. and urge prosecutors not to wait until ajudge is
Jim f. Lavine
Rick Bross
convicted to become concerned about bad behavior on the bench.
Mary E, Conn
Kent A. SchoPPer
Let's keep fighting the good fight. The Defender wishes you all ahappy holiday season and success, good
Don Cogdell
health and the best of luck throughout the new year.
Jim Skelton
George J. Pornham
Garland 0, Mci nnis
Keep those cards and letters coming.
Robert A. Moen
lloyd Oliver
Donny Easterling Shawna L. Reagin
Richard FrankaPP
Wayne Hill
Katherine Scardino and Allen Isbell demonstrated absolutely
amazing advocacy by winning a life sentence for their capital client
in State v. Baskin, tried in August 2005 in the 338th District Court.
The State presented 37 extraneous offenses at punishment, two of
which were for murder. Dr. Jerome Brown and Dr. Gabriel Tan
testified as to mental retardation, which the jury rejected, but then
apparently did consider in mitigation. Gina Vitale handled the
mitigation investigation and did her usual wonderful job. Out of 25
capital murder cases in her career, Katherine has gotten life or better
on all but 2. Congratulations to a great team for a great result!
Steven Halpert had fun getting a "Not Guilty" for his DWI client
in CCCL # 13 in August, despite the denial of two good motions to
suppress; Steve credits having the record of Lewis Dickson's earlier
cross-examination of this same officer, who seems to have a problem
getting his microphone to work along with his video camera.
Keeping up the fine DWI work, Chris Samuelson heard the sweetest
two words in CCCL #9, on August 18,2005, after only 10 minutes
of deliberation.
Earlier that week, Chris helped out Tad Nelson by sending Jim
Medley to assist him in a Galveston DWI trial . Jim's testimony
regarding the standardized field sobriety tests saved the day and Tad
won a 9-minute "Not Guilty." Way to go, guys.
Wayne Hill won a reversal and new trial for the trial court's refusal
to allow the accused to proceed pro se, in Kombudo v. State, 148
S.w.2d 547 (Tex.App. -- Houston [14t11 Dist.] 2004), upheld on
remand in an unpublished opinion issued November 8, even after
the CCA granted the State's PDR and ordered the lower court to
consider tl1e State's rather disingenuous "estoppel" claim. Good
work, Wayne.
Despite some highly distasteful prosecutorial shenanigans, Roxie
Roll fought her way to a "Not Guilty" in a misdemeanor assault case
down in Fort Bend County, during the dog days of August.
Continuing the late summer momentum, Jim Medley puUed
another DWI "not guilty" out of the hat, even though his client ran
three red lights, was almost hit by an 18-wheeler, had all four clues
on the one-Ieg- stand and all eight clues on the walk-and-turn.
Alvin Nunnery and Michelle Beck achieved a "Not Guilty" In 
another highly-publ.icized murder trial where their client in.itially
blamed the shooting on her young son. Alvin and Michelle skillfuHy
reminded the jury that her subsequent actions in no way detracted
from her right to defend herself against the complaint's attack.
ExceUent lawyering.
Nipping another domestic violence case in the bud, Mark Bennett
prevailed in CCCL #3, when the State proved neither household nor
violence nor assault.
Tyler Flood did a great job a "Not Guilty" on two counts
of assault in CCCL #7, according to second-chair Sarah Wood. The
investigating deputy was so shaken up after Tyler's cross-examination
that he tripped and fell flat on Ius face as he left the witness stand.
Tyler continued to "knock 'em dead" [or at least down] with a "Not
Guilty" on a DWI in CCCL #7, when tile officer almost fell down
himself giving instructions for the one-leg-stand.
A jury took only 16 minutes to reward Kathryn Kelber with a
"Not Guilty" in yet another family violence case, thanks in part
to sloppiness on the part of Humble PD [but thanks mostly to
Kathryn's stellar defense].
Randall Kallinen and David Kiatta closed out the summer by
\vinnmg an "Interference with Public Duties" case in CCCL #4,
filed after the petite young female questioned tl1e police beating and
Taser-ing of her friend.
Chuck Stanfield started a whole string of victories with a "Not
Guilty" on a no-test DWI in Ft. Bend county court #1 on September
7, a "Not Guilty" on a no-test DWI in Harris County CCCL #10 on
October 12, and a motion to suppress carried \vith trial in
CCCL #2 on November 10, 2005. Keep up the great work, Chuck!
Proving once again that he is the parole wizard, Bill Habern
obtained release for Lora Lee Zaionitz, who was serving a capital life
sentence. It may have helped her case when her co-defendant phoned
her before his execution to apologize for getting her involved when
she had nothing to do with the killing.
After three days in trial, Troy McKinney won a dismissal in a DWl
case by suppressing the breath test and conducting an intensive
cross-examination of the HPD officer. Troy's exposure of the state's
failure to operate the Intoxilyzer 5000 according to manufacturer's
guidelines was subsequently featured in a Houston Chronicle article.
A 9-day murder trial that included four days of deliberation ended
with the jury hung 9-3 in favor of "Not Guilty" for Shawna Reagin's
client in the 248th District Court. On the date retrial was to begin,
he pled guilty to aggravated assault and to his separate bond jumping
case, for five years concurrent in TDCJ-ID.
Mike Ramsey and Kent Schaffer had an order of acquittal entered
by federal Judge Lynn Hughes, several years after a jury verdict of
guilty in the Vita Pro / TDCJ case, apparently due to the inability of
the court reporter to ever produce a record suitable for appeal.
A 5-1 deadlock in favor of the defense won Tom Radosevich a
dismissal in a DWl case in CCCL #11 on September 12,2005. His
client must complete a victim impact panel. Tom reportedly put on
a first-class voir dire.
Our revered President, WendeU Odom, won a "Not Guilty" from
the jury in a sexual assault case tried in the 337th District Court, on
facts involving hot tubs and other fun stuff.
Joseph R. WUlie & Associates heard "Not Guilty" foUO\ving only
20 minutes of deliberation, after a 2-day trial on possession of ecstasy
in the 268th District Court of Ft. Bend County.
Jim Leitner got a great result in a murder trial in the 177th District
Court when the jury found his client guilty of the lesser-included
offense of aggravated assault and assessed punishment at seven years
imprisonment. The lowest pretrial offer was for 35 years. Good job,
In one of those increasingly rare appeUate victories, Clay Conrad
garnered a reversal in a published opinion, Flores v. State, 172 S.W.3d
742 (Tex.App. -- Houston [14th Dist.] 2005). Issue was the denial of
a motion to suppress after coerced consent to search.
Richard Frankoff battled an incomprehensible murder prosecution
and conviction stemming from an 18-year-old client's car accident by
convincing the jury to recommend probation, in face of the State's
plea for a 20-year sentence.
Licensed less than a year at the time, Jimmy Ardoin won his second
DWl "Not Guilty," despite bad facts [client leaving a strip club,
driving erratically] and bad evidentiary rulings. Definitely a rising
star here.
Eric Hagstette bid a fond farewelJ to the defense bar by snagging
a "Not Guilty"in a murder case in the 184th District Court on
October 7, 2005. We'U miss you, Eric!
The same Brazoria County prosecutor who suffered a 10-minute
"Not Guilty" at Tom Stickler's hands on a habitual DWl earlier in
the year took another in 8 minutes on October 11, this time on a
possession of dangerous drugs case where the piUs were seized from
the defendant's lap. Next time, the jury may not even leave the
On facts straight from a Movie of the Week, Kelly Case pulJed a
manslaughter conviction with a 2-year sentence out of a Galveston
murder prosecution. Client was a 71-year-old, one-legged, bedridden,
blind, morbidly obese, diabetic, dialysis patient who shot and killed
his mentaUy-retarded, adopted daughter/caretaker during one of
what had become fairly frequent and increasingly severe beatings.
Tad Nelson and Mack Arnold served the Galveston D.A.'s office
with two "Not Guilty" verdicts in 25 minutes, after a week and a
half of highly-charged, dramatic testimony in a trial for aggravated
sexual assault of a child and sexual performance of a child. These cases
involved a dad being drug through divorce dirt and a custody battle
by a vindictive ex-wife - good save, guys.
Jay W. Burnett worked some magic on behalf of a client charged
v.rith 2 aggravated and 1 non-aggravated robberies in the 176th
District Court by getting the prosecution to agree to 12 years TDCJ-
ID, \vitl1 agreement not to fue an additional 4 aggravated and 4 non-
aggravated robberies, most of which were captured on \rideo.
Congratulations to David Breston who got a "Not Guilty" on an
indecency with a child by contact case in the 263rd District Court on
October 26, 2005.
M.ichael Lamson likewise heard a two-word verdict on a felony theft
case in the 184th District Court on October 25, 2005 .
Also in the 184th, David Cunningham persuaded a jury to award
his client a 10-year probated sentence, with a $10,000.00 fine, for a
wild home invasion where the complainant was a well-armed Bandido
holding $20K and 55 pounds of weed. David's client was shot 7
times and the Bandido was shot through the vocal cords.
Brazoria County was dealt another blow late in October when Jeff
Purvis walked his client charged with possession of 3 pounds of
marijuana. Even better, the prosecutor had sworn before trial that
he would quit law and go to dental school if he lost the case. Also,
one of the jurors offered the defendant a job. What a happy ending
for everyone.
Hattie Mason hung the jury in an aggravated assault trial in
the 180th District Court on November 8, follmving which the
prosecutor lowered the plea offer from 40 years to 5 and her client
graciously accepted.
Dale Paschall and John Armstrong won a "Not Guilty" for their
minor client charged with DWI after blowing a .08 and a .092, in the
CCCL #3. Dale used Jim Booker as his expert.
David Fleisher and  Norm Silverman prevailed  in  a no-test ,  no  accident 
D\VI  in  CCCL  #14,  where  the  client  had  aliegedly  almost  hit  a  cop 
making  another  DWI  arrest;  David  got  ali  FSTs  suppressed  - this  was 
his  first  trial. 
On August  18, Chris  Samuelson got  a "Not Guilty"  verdict  on  a tota.l-
refusa.!  DWI in  CCCL #9,  and  foUowed  that with  another  "Not Guilty" 
in  CCCL #6  on  October 26, in  a  case  with  four  HPD  DWI  Task  Force 
offICers.  Leslie  Johnson  of his  office  had  a DWI dismissed  in  CCCL #12 
foUowing  her cross· examination of the  arresting  offIcer. 
JoAnn Musick and Earl Musick continue causing prosecutors everywhere 
to  rue  the  day  they  joined  the  Good  Guys:  Assawt  dismissed  after  voir 
dire  in  CCCL  #6  when  Judge  Standley  would  not  aliow  the  State  to 
amend  pleadings;  another  assault  dismissed  day  of tria.!  in  same  court  a 
few weeks  later; aggravated assawt in  174th reduced to  Class  C disorderly 
conduct  on  the  day  of trial,  a.!ong  with  d.ismissa.!  of possession  case  in 
same  transaction;  two  separate  aggravated  assawt  w/deadly  weapon 
cases  dismissed  in  263rd; JoAnn successfully  petitioned  to  have  a juvenile 
sex  offender  excused  from  further  registration  and  had  records  of prior 
registration  deleted;  and  Earl  got  a  forgery  dismissed  in  Nacogdoches 
County after  he  proved  his client  was  a victim  of identity  theft. 
Kudos  to  Danny  Easterling  for  saving  an  innocent  person  from 
conviction  on  mistaken  eyewitness  identification.  But  for  Danny's 
own  thorough  research  that  revea.!ed  a  rock-solid  alibi,  a  young  man's 
promising  future  wowd  have  ended  with  a  wrongful  theft  conviction. 
Danny and Mark Yanis a.!so  won a reversa.!  in the  First Court of Appea.!s, 
due  to  the  tria.!  court's  den.ial  of a  motion  to  suppress:  Mark  Leonard 
Prater v.  State,  No.  0 1-04-00862-CR, delivered  October 27, 2005. 
Jim  Sullivan's  dedication  and  perseverance  likewise  prevented  an 
innocent  man  from  being  erroneously  convicted  of forgery  in  the  185th 
District  Court.  After  many  attempts  to  focus  the  prosecutor  on  the 
obvious  weaknesses  in  the  case,  Jim  was  able  to  obtain  hospita.l  records 
that  proved  his client  could  not  have  been  the  person  who  tried  to  cash 
the stolen  check, despite  the  teller's  ID, whereupon the State grudgingly 
dismissed.  That same  day,  Jim  got another dismissal  on  domestic  assault 
case  set for  tria.!  in  CCCL #2 . Great work, Jim. 
Mike  Charlton  and  Gerald  Bierbaum  worked  wonders  in  winning  a 
new  penaJty  phase  hearing  for  death  row  inmate  Virgil  Martinez,  from 
the  federa.!  district court in  Ga.!veston,  due  to  tria.!  counsel 's  [present-day 
Brazoria  D.A.  Jeri  Yenne]  failure  to  investigate  his  30  years  of untreated 
epilepsy  and  resultant  psychoses  and  refusa.!  to  present  any  of  that 
mental  health  evidence  at  pun.ishment,  nor  indeed,  to  present  anything 
resembling a pun.ishment case  at  ali. 
Another  victory  on  the  capital  litigation  front  was  claimed  by  Morris 
Moon of the Texas  Defender Service in  Ex  Parte Rodney Reed, No. WR-
50,961-03, when  they  won  the  right  to  return  to  state  court  in  Bastrop 
County  to Jitigate  a  Brady  claim  regarding  the  State's  failure  to  disclose 
evidence  that  someone  other  than  Mr.  Reed  killed  the  complainant. 
Morris  shares  the  credit  with  Kathryn  Kase,  Bryce  Benjet  and  Jared 
Tyler.  Good  luck. 
Likewise,  Roy  Greenwood  of  Austin  and  Jay  W.  Burnett  gained 
another  incremental  success  [the  only  true  measure  in  capita.!  writ 
work]  in  the  ongoing  saga  of Ex  Parte  Graves  when  the  Fifth  Circuit 
Is it Deep Throat? TropiC oP Cancer? Hustler?
NO)  irS  EVEN  BmER: 
THURSDAYS  AT  8:00  P.M. 
. ..-
ordered  another  round  of oral  argument  on  a  Brady  issue,  set  for 
December  6,  2005,  in Austin.  Roy  and  Jay  have  fought  valiantly 
for years  to undo the damage done  by  deficient writ representation 
at  the  state level. 
Overlooked  in the  last  issue  was  Karen  Barney's  "Not  Guilty" 
in  an  Aggravated Sexual  Assault  trial  in  the  183rd  District  Court, 
made even sweeter by  being before a "prosecutor's helper" visiting 
judge who  will  follow  no  law  that  might  help  the defense. Way  to 
go,  Karen! 
Chris  Tritioo  got  a  "Not  Guilty"  on  a  DWT  in  CCCL  #1  on 
November  16, 2005 . 
Alvin  Nunnery  and  Layton  Duer's  client  cheated  death  \vith 
a  post-jury  selection  plea  on  November  17,  2005.  Their  team 
included  JJ Gradoni  and  Gerry  Byington.  According  to 
Danalynn  Recer  at  GRACE,  this  was  the  last  potential  death 
penalty  trial  for  Harris  COlUlty  this  year,  which  is  an  excellent  way 
to start the  holiday season. 
CORRECTION:  In  the  last  issue's  Winning  Warriors  column, 
GRACE  was  erroneously  identified  as  "Gulf  Coast  Regional 
Advocacy  Center."  GRACE  actually  stands  for  "Gulf  Regional 
Advocacy  Center." We  apologize  for  the  mistake. 
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"Assuring (/  Designa/ed Dril 'er"
~         HCCLA's  2004 Holidoy  Porty 

When I was handed a new bar card, I thought the highest, in-
deed almost the only, function of the criminal defense lawyer was to
try cases. More accurately, to engage the Crown in pitched battles
in courtrooms where witnesses were lined up and fired on cue, like
artillery-pieces. When the smoke cleared, I (and my client) would be
left standing, or so I tll0ught. All else was peripheral at best. This was
my conception of the only proper role for the defense lawyer.
ing in my legal education prepared me to eimer confirm or dispel
tlus notion.
Despite centuries of experience with the transparently adversarial
Anglo-American system ofjustice, there is a paucity oftheory to guide
those who would try cases.
That this lacuna goes unrecognized does
not make it any less so. This essay argues mat great military think-
ers articulate theories of conflict mat contain vital lessons for me
trial lawyer.
A general theory of contlict should discover the fundamental rules
that govern any type of competit.ive enterprise, including litigation.
Let's see what some thinkers, ancient and modern, have to say.
Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) was a Prussian nobleman who
tought in the Napoleonic wars. His most important work, On War,3
remains the Western world's most-studied treatise on conflict. Its in-
tluence extends beyond the Western nations, and beyond tile military
We might sec what advice he otfers the trial lawyer.
CI:lUsewitz is regarded wim some reason as the prophet and ad -
vocate of total war. Clausewitz defines war as an "act of force to
compel our enemy to do our will."6 The
proper aim of warfare is nothing less
than the "destruction of the enemy's
forces," which means that those forces
are to be "put in such a condition that
they can no longer carryon the fight ."7
If mis is the proper aim of warf.1re,
Clausewitz holds mat the only allowable
means is combat.
And disputes are to be
decided, not by maneuvering and skir-
mishing, not by feints, but by me battle.
The battle is the sine qua non of tile decision. Let's listen to
What is tile battle? It is a struggle by tile main force . .. it is a
struggle for real victory, waged wim all available strengm.
. .. [S]ince the essence of war is fighting, :md since the battle
is the fight of the main force, the battle must always be consid-
ered as the true center of gravity (schwcrpunkt) of tile war. 10
. . . [T]he very concept of war will permit us to make the
following unequivocal statements:
1. Destruction of tile enemy forces is tile overriding principle
of war, and, so far as positive action is concerned, the prin
cipal way to achieve our object.
2. Such destruction  of forces  can  usually be  accomplished  only 
by  fighting. 
3.  Only major engagements involving ali  forces  lead  to  major 
success . 
4.  The greatest successes  are  obtained  where  all  engagements 
coalesce  into one great  battle  ... 11 [Emphasis  in  original). 
It is  clear  that Clausewitz  envisions  conflict  as  the  meeting of the 
main  forces  of the  opponents  in  decisive  battles.  He  plainly  advises 
that  the  "decisive  point"  must  be  identified,  and  the  main  strength 
of the  attack  be  concentrated  there.
A1tllough  Clausewitz  does  al-
low that at times, a demonstration of willingness and ability to fight a 
battle  can  accomplish  an  objective,  e.g.  to cause  the  enemy to  aban-
don  a  position,13  and  that  possible  engagements  sometimes  have  to 
be  taken  as  seriously  by  the  enemy  as  real  ones,14  he  sternly  rejects 
and  deception 
as  legitimate  means of waging war. 
Clausewitz  does  not  disdain  to  use  such  tactics  out of a  sense  of 
honor  or  fair  play;  it  is  rather  that  conflict  is  simply  unimaginable 
without battle  and  slaughter: 
Kind-hearted  people  might  of course  tlunk  there  was  some  in-
genious  way  to  disarm  or  defeat  an  enemy  without  too  much 
bloodshed, and might imagine  tlut this  is  the true goal of tlK  art 
of war.  Pleasant  as  it  sounds,  it  is  a  fallacy  tllat  must  be  exposed 
We  are  not  interested  in  generals  who  win  victories  without 
bloodshed I8 
Although Clausewitz himself notes the similarity of warfare  to liti-
gation,19  he  has  no  patience  for  some  of the  tactics  recognized  by 
the  experienced  trial  lawyer,  such  as  surprise  and  dcception.
reading of Ort War also  gives  the strong impression  that  Clausewitz 
would  not approve  of our  pleading  a  case.  He  of ali  people  would 
advise  the  beginning  lawyer  to  prepare  assiduously  for  trial,  marshal 
a1l  available  resources,  and  then  charge  straight  up  the  courthouse 
steps,  to  engage  in  aU-consuming  courtroom  battles  in  which  the 
goal  is  "destruction  of the enemy's forces"  in  head-on collisions. 
Pick  a jury, slug  it  out with  the  prosecutor  and  may  the  best  man 
win.  Most  prosecutors  think  like  Clausewitz,  and  try  their  cases  ac-
cordingly. Should  defense  lawyers? 
Sun  Tzu  was  a  Chinese  general 
and  military  tlunker  who  is  generally 
thought  to  have  lived  in  tlle  fifth  cen-
tury  B.C.
His  The Art of Wal..22 was 
written  as  a  guide  to  Chinese  military 
leaders.  It has  been  read  in  East  Asia 
GREAT WALL OF CHINA since  it was  written, and  has  been  avail-
able  in  Russian  for  centuries,  but  only 
in  1905 was  it translated  into English.  As  is  the case  with  Clausewitz, 
it  is  also  widely  applied  in  areas  removed  from  military matters.
Sun Tzu  differs sharply  from  Clausewitz  in  his  prescription  of tlle 
means of conflict: 
... to gain a hundred victories  in  a hundred  battles is  not tlle 
highest excellence. 
To  subjugate  the  enemy's  army  without  doing  battle  is  tlle 
highest of excellence. 24 
But  he  is  no  shrinking  violet  when  fighting 
must  be  done;25  most  of The  Art  of War  and 
in  particular  Chapter  VII  ("Armed  Struggle") 
is  about preparations  for  and  conduct of battle. 
He  treats  battle  as  only  one  of many options  to 
be  employed  in  conflict,  indeed,  as  a  last  resort 
rather  than  as  invariably  necessary  to  resolve 
conflict.  Not only  do  the  two  thinkers  disagree 
on  the  necessity  of  battle;  they  also  differ  on 
where  the  battle  is  to  be  fought.  Clausewitz re-
quires  that  the  commander  concentrate  all  his 
forces  where  the  enemy  is  the strongest,  in  order to provoke  a deci-
sive  battle. Sun Tzu  would  have  us  do the opposite. 
To  be  certain  to  take  what  you  attack,  attack  where  the  en-
emy cannot defend. 
To  be  certain  of safety  when  defending,  defend  where  the 
enemy cannot attack
He  is  telling  trial  lawyers  to  focus  on  tlle  weak 
points  of  the  prosecution's  case,  not  neces-
He  is telling triol 
sarily  the  strong  ones.  If the  witness's  iden-
tification  is  strong,  focus  on  his  cred- lawyers to Pocus on 
ibility.  If you  can't  attack  the  search, 
the weak points oP  the 
attack  the  factors  of  possession.
If  the 
evidence  of  guilt  is  overwhelming,  work  prosecution's cose, 
on  pun.ishment  issues.  If  you  don't  have 
not necessorily the 
an  expert,  use  the  prosecutor's  expert  to 
help  you.  strong ones. 
There is  no "damn-the-torpedoes" headlong 
rush  to  victory.  Sun Tzu  instructs  us  that we  must 
first  concentrate  on  defense,  i.e .,  make  ourselves  invul -
nerable  to attack,  before  ourselves  attacking: 
In  ancient  times,  those  skilled  in  warfare  made  themselves 
invincible  and  then  waited  for  the enemy  to  become  vulner-
able  .... 
Those  skilled  in  defense  hide  themselves  in  tile  most  secret 
recesses  of tlle  Earth; 
Those skiUed  in  attack flash  forth  from  the  highest reaches of 
the Heavens  ... . 
Therefore,  they  are  able  to  protect  memselves  and  achieve 
complete victory.28 
Never  does  he  advise  engaging in  tactics  other  tllan  battle out of 
a  position  of weakness,  nor  does  he  suggest  tllat deception  can  sub-
stitute  for  preparation . The  emphasis  is  always  on  fmt  Limiting  your 
own vulnerability, and  then exploiting the  opponent's. 
In yet another area  germane to  the  trial  lawyer,  that of tlle  role  of 
stratagem,  surprise  and  deception,  Sun  Tzu  strongly  disagrees  wim 
Clausewitz.  Recall  that  the  Prussian  rejected  the  use  of deception, 
not  out of any sense  of honor  or  fair  play,  but  because  he  could  not 
imagine  conflict witilOut  it.  But for  Sun Tzu, secrecy and  the ability 
to  dissemble  are  virtues;  deception  is  not merely a  useful  stratagem; 
conflict is  deception: 
Warfare  is  the Way  of deception. 
Therefore, if able, appear unable; if active,
It is soPe to soy thot
appear not active; if near, appear far; if far,
were Sun Tzu 0 dePense
appear near.
lowyer, he would not
If they have advantage, entice them; if
approve oP the passoge they are confused, take them; if they are
substantial, prepare for them; if they are
oP ony reciprocal
strong, avoid them; if they are angry, dis-
discovery statute. turb them
It is safe to say that were Sun Tzu a defense law-
yer, he would not approve of the passage of any reciprocal discov-
ery statute. Pervading the entire work are the value of secrecy and
the worth of dissembling. In practical terms, for the trial lawyer this
means not letting the prosecution know any more about our case
than we have to. A prosecutor who knows nothing about our defense
knows neither where to attack our case, nor how to make his case safe
from attack.
The place of battle must not be made known to the enemy.
If it is not known, then the enemy must prepare to defend
many places.
If he prepares to defend many places, then the forces will be
few in number.
Therefore, if he prepares to defend the front, the back will
be weak.
If he prepares to defend the back, the front will be weak.
If he prepares to defend the left, the right wiJl be weak.
If he prepares to defend the right, the left wiJ .1 be weak.
If he prepares to defend everywhere, everywhere wiJl be
weak 30
Substitute "the prosecutor" for "the enemy" in the above pas-
sage, and see how relevant it is to our practice. If we give away our
defense(s), either by loose lips or as required by any applicable dis-
covery ruJes, we will always lose this advantage. The prosecutor who
knows nothing about our intended defense can be kept off balance.
To try a case or plead it? Sun Tzu would have no problem with
pleading a case that should be pled:
One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot
fight, wiU be victorious
His definition of "victory" is obviously situational and is corre-
spondingly less rigid than is that ofClausewitz, for whom, as we have
seen, victory in each conflict is not less than "destruction of the en-
emy's forces."
An important distinction must be made here. Sun Tzu is not say- that one must know when he will win, and then fight; and when
he will lose, and then surrender. \life do not always have to choose
between battle and capitulation. One can know when not to fight
and stilJ be victorious. To put it anotller way, Sun Tzu is telling us
that there is also victory in knowing when not to take a case to trial.
And which experienced defense lawyer would disagree? Sometimes
pleading a case for 20 years imprisonment is a victory- but onJy if
done by one who "knows when he can figJlt, and when he cannot
fight. "
Sun Tzu is telling the trial lawyer that victory can be achieved,
many times and in many different ways, without a courtroom battle.
Indeed, by his rules, the greatest victories are achieved outside the
True excellence is to plan secretly, to move surreptitiously, to
foil the enemy's intentions and balk his schemes, so dut at last
the day may be won without shedding a drop of blood 32
Suppress evidence, discover an informant's identity, make a pre-
sentation to a grand jury, dig up a witness's criminal record. The
experienced lawyer knows that dismissals so obtained are greater vic-
tories than acquittals after trials. Trial lawyers like to try cases, but
our clients prefer not to be tried at all.
Keep your client out of court. Win witll0ut fighting the Clausewit-
zian battle if you can. "To subjugate the prosecutor without doing
battle is the highest of excellence." That's Sun Tzu's advice.
Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) was the great Japanese wan-
dering Samurai and master of Kenjutsu. His Book of Five RingJ33 is
primarily a treatise on swordsmanship, but it has been reprinted in
various languages and is studied as a general approach to conflict.
One of his principles in particular has relevance for the trial lawyer.
M usashi held tlla t
"To become the enemy" means to dlink yourself into the
enemy's position.
Musashi wants us to perform a kind of tllOught experiment.
To prepare to fight tlle prosecutor in
court, the lawyer should ask himself, How
would I try this case if I were the prosecu-
tor? Sit down and do some hard thinking:
"become the prosecutor." Imagine yourself
as tlle opposing lawyer, going through each
element of tlle case and each witness. Write
the prosecutor's opening statement in your
mind. What is tlle prosecutor's theory of
guilt? What will he ask each witness to prove?
How will he lay the evidentiary toundations?
How will he meet your objections? Defense
lawyers that have former careers as prosecu-
tors may have an advantage here, but any law-
yer with experience can, given some dl0Ught,
put himself in tlle place of his opponent and anticipate his moves.
This will confer an advantage when the trial is underway.
America's most influential military th.inker3
was an Air Force
colonel, John Boyd (1927-1997). As a fighter pilot in Korea, he
noticed that while the Soviet MiG-IS was superior to the very similar
American F-86 in acceleration, climbing, altitude and turning radius,
the Jatter consistently outfought the MiG. Some of this difference
could be explained by pilot training and experience, but Boyd sus-
pected material causes as well.
(Top: U.S.A.F. F-86; Bottom: Soviet Air Force MiG-iS).
Boyd applied the laws of thermodynamics to the problem and
wrote equations that, for the first time, made the way aircraft were
designed and flown a quantitative science. This he called the "En-
ergy-Maneuverability Theory" of aircraft performance. His most
fundamental discovery indicated that while the MiG-iS appeared
better in the ways that traditionally measured the performance of
fighting aircraft, the F-86 could change its direction quicker than the
MiG. In other words, the F-86 pilot could act and react quicker than
his adversary, giving him a decisive advantage in combat. The lesson
Boyd discerned was that all else being equal, the pilot with the more
maneuverable aircraft would live to fight another day. •
Boyd expanded his discovery into a general theory and prepared an
oral briefing for military officers called "Patterns of Conflict. "36 The
heart of the briefmg was his articulation of the now-famous "OODA
Loop": Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. This idea was the first explicit
recognition in the history of military thought that time itselfwas cen-
tral to conflict. More precisely, Boyd showed that conflict is a strug-
gle to control the tempo of battle. Who can more quickly observe the
situation, orient himself, decide what to do, and take timely action,
disorients his opponent and wins. Boyd saw that maneuverability was
as important to great armies in the fIeld as it was to individual duel-
ing pilots.
This time-based theory of conflict was adopted by Army
and Marine Corps tacticians, and directed the disposition of coalition
forces in both Iraq wars
Boyd's theory has been applied on the battlefield and in business,39
but I am most interested in its application for the defense lawyer.
It seems to me that we are frequently guilty of letting the prosecu-
tion dictate the pace of a criminal case. Think of the typical situation.
By the time we make our first appearance in court, the prosecutor has
prepared a file in which there is an offense report and, frequently, wit-
ness statements. The police report itself represents an LIwestigation in
which witnesses have been interviewed and their statements filtered
by Government agents. Our new client may have already been inter-
viewed and his statement recorded. A search may have been conduct-
ed and incriminating records or tangible items seized. Some of these
items may have already been sent to Government labs for analysis.
There is a list of the client's prior convictions. There may already be
publicity which has broadcast only the prosecution's version ofevents.
In contrast, the defense lawyer will usually have had no opportunity
to do any work by the first setting, and is in the unenviable position of
being, in Boyd's terms, behind the prosecutor's OODA Loop.
A lawyer unversed in conflict theory may succumb to tile tempta-
tion to "reset the case and see if the offer gets better." And when he
arrives at the arraignment setting having done nothing in the interim,
the prosecutor has discovered his client's out-of-state criminal record,
or has found more victims, or has dug up extraneouses, or has other-
wise compounded the defendant's problems. There is every reason for
the offer to get worse.
How would Col. Boyd advise us) He would tell us to "get inside
the prosecution's OODA Loop."
There is often some advantage to be gained from putting in con-
siderable effort early in the case. Prosecutors seem to be used to the
feeling of being ahead of tile defense in time, and any indication that
they are falling behind upsets them. They become disconcerted when
it dawns on them that tile defense knows more about one of meir
witnesses than tlley do, or when some legal research shows they have
an admissibility problem they haven't yet considered, or when the
defense otherwise demonstrates that it is pulling ahead.
We can investigate the prosecutor's witnesses before they even know
who ours are, or even whether we have witnesses. A prosaic enough
example is one that I observed years ago: A burglary was committed
in which tllere was only one eyewitness, who was not the homeown-
er. The witness made a positive identification because he knew the
defendant from the neighborhood .
(There was no other evidence such
as recovered property or a confes-
sion.) The name and date of birth
of the witness were in the oftense
report. The defense lawyer quickly
investigated the \vitness's criminal
record, discovered three trips to
the pen for admissible crimes,40
and subpoenaed the pen packets
from TDCJ, By the next setting,
the defense lawyer was able to lay
the witness's three pen packets on the table next to the State's file.
The offer went down.
If you have a search or arrest warrant that is vulnerable, why not
file a motion to suppress and a memorandum as early as possible? Al -
though you are giving advance notice of your defense, the State can't
patch tllingS up, because the inquiry is limited to tile four corners
of the warrant or affi davit
! They may cut their ofter or even dismiss
the case.
Go to the scene and get photos early. Prosecutors do this on the
eve of trial, if at all. Sometimes your investigation will yield evidence
that contradicts tile prosecutor's witnesses, but in any event, YOll arc
demonstrating tllat you are working the case harder than the pros-
ecutor. As Boyd would say, you are getting inside his OODA loop.
Traditional legal education in Anlerica, even in courses where liti-
gation skiUs are stressed, fails to equip lawyers with the. theoretical
tools to consider litigation as a specialized case of conflict. Texts on
warfare by great military thinkers offer general theories of conflict to
guide action in any competitive field ofendeavor. These works can be
profitably meditated upon by trial lawyers seeking guidance in solv-
ing the problems presented by litigation.
  - . , ,
    _:......::. '- J r---._tl', _-..0_' J ... _" __ •
I I'd  lay  money it  was  yours,  too, when  you  started  practicing.  Certainly it  is 
the  image offered  by  popular books,  films  and  television. 
2  One  possible  exception  is  Francis  Wellman's  The  Art of Cross-Examination 
Vtnn  Kriege  (1832),  published  posthumously.  See  also  Clausewitz,  Prin-
ciples of War ( 1812). 
4  Numerous  translations  and  interpretations  exist.  See,  e.g.,  von  Ghyczy, 
Tiha, Christopher  Bassford, and  Bolko von  Oetinger,  Clausewitz on  Strat-
egy:  Inspiration  and Insight from  a  Master  Strategi.rt  (Wiley,  2001).  Also, 
Mr.  Jack Welch  of General  Electric  has  quoted Clausewitz as  an  inspiration 
in interviews.
5  Clausewitz was doubtless influenced  b)'  the effects of the  new  industrializa-
tion  on  war.  He  was  even  more  influenced  by  seeing  firsthand  post-revo-
lutionary  France  at  war.  This  was  the  first  instance  in  modern  European 
history of a  nation  totally  committed  to J  nationalistic  war,  and  it  shocked 
aristocratic  military  practitioners.  Clallsewitz witnessed  the  French  humili-
ation  of the proud  Prussian  military  tradition, and  was  himself captured. 
60" War,  Book  I,  Chapter i. 
7  [, ii. 
9  [V, ix. 
II IV, xi.  Dozens of similar statements permeate the  entire  work. 
12  Ill, xi. 
13  I,  ii. 
14  Ill, i.
15  III, ix. 
16  Ill, x. 
17  I,  i.
18  IV,  xi . 
19V1, i.
20  Jn  this discussion  I  do not, by  rderring to such concepts as "surprise"  and 
"deception," contemplate or advocate  the usc of unethical  or illegal  means. 
I  instead  refer to legitimate tactical  decisions  that trial  lawyers are  required 
to make  on  behalf of rheir clients. 
21  He is  therefore  a  contemporary of the  founding  of the  Roman  Republic, 
the  Greek  wars  against  Persia,  and  the  lives  of ConnlCius  and  Buddha.  As 
he was  writing,  Malachi  was  writing in  Judah. 
22  Ping-Fa,  (c.  500  B.C.). 
23  On  a  recent  trip  to  a  large  bookstore,  I  noted  no  fewer  than  eleven  sepa-
rate  editions  for  sale.  There  are  also  a  number of applications  in  business. 
See, e.g. ,  Krause,  Donald,  The  Art of War fOI'  Exec"t'.es  ( Perigee  Trade, 
24  The  Art of Wm',  Chapter III. 
25  And  neither  am  l. Readers  of this  essay  may  conclude  that  it  is  an  apol-
ogy  for  pleading  clients  guilty  or  dodging  trials.  On  the  contrary,  it  is  an 
application  of conflict  theory  to  trials,  and  to  alternatives  to trials.  If you 
must  try  a  case,  and  many  times  you  must,  by  all  means  try  it,  but  try  it 
according to Sun Tzu's rules. 
26  VI. 
27  See,  eg.,  Chavez  v.  State,  769  S.W.2d  284  (Tex.App.--Houston  lIst 
Dist.]  1989,  pet.  rerd); Menchaeo v.  State, 901  S.W.2d  640 (Tex.App.--
EI  Paso  1995, pet.  ref'd);  United States v.  Ortega  Reyna,  148  F.3d  540 
(5th  Cir.  1995). 
28  IV.  There  is  a  parallel  here  with  Clausewitz,  who  always  discusses  defense 
before  moving on to attack in  On War.  But Sun Tzu expresses the concept 
as  an  integral  part of his  theory. 
29  I. See also  V.
30 Vl. Accord. Alfrcd  Thayer Mahan, The  Infl"enct ofSea  Power  IIpon  History, 
1660-1783 (1890) ,  Chapter XI, especially  n.  10. 
31  1Il.
32  [V. 
33  Go  Rin No  Sho,  (1645).  I t  was  written a few  weeks  before Musashi's death. 
It  is  sometimes  translated  as  "Book of the  Five  Elements." 
34  Book  of Five  Rit'8s, "The  Fire Book." 
35  In so saying I do not neglect Commander Alfred Thayer Mahan,  USN, the 
"pen  and  ink  sailor"  whose  books  and  articles  revolutionized  the  world's 
36  Unfortunately  Boyd  never  sat  down  to  write  a  book  of principles,  as  did 
Sun  Tzu,  Musashi  and  Clausewitz.  What  is  known  about  his  thinking 
comes  from  a distillation  of his  oral  briefings,  products of his  design  theo-
ries,  unpublished  papers, and  the  recollections of his colleagues. 
37  Sun  Tzu  knew  this  2,500  years  ago.  See  The  Art of War,  Chapter  Vl at 
38  Boyd  contributcd  much  more  than  this.  At  various  times  in  his  career, 
he  was  America's  greatest  fighter  pilot,  premier  air  combat instructor,  de-
signer  of its  most  effective  aircraft,  most  penetrating  military  strategist, 
and  sharpest  thorn  in  the  side  of the  Pentagon.  He  also  connibuted  to 
epistemology  (Destr"ction  and  Creation  [[ 976]) .  See  generally,  Coram, 
Robert.  Boyd:  The  Fighter  Pilot  Who  Changed  the  Art of War.  New  York: 
Little,  Brown,  2002. 
39 Sec  Richards. Chet.  Certain To  Win:  The Strategy OfJohn  Boyd,  Applied To 
Business.  Philadelphia:  Xlibris  Corporation, 2004. 
40  See Theus v.  State, 845  S.W.2d  874  (Tex.  Crim.  App.  1992)(en  bane) . 
41  Jones v.  State, 833 S.W.2d  118 (Tex. Crim. App.  [992), cert. denied,  507 
U.S.  92[,  [[3 S.Ct.  1285,122  L.Ed.2d  678  ([993);  Hankins  v.  State, 
[32 SW.3d  380 (Tex.  Crim.  App.  2004). 
GRACE notes
In the last year, the Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE)
launched its Harris County Capital Pretrial Project, which provides
free pre-trial preparation to indigent capital defendants . GRACE
is a charity founded in 2002 to provide representation at the trial
level to indigent capital defendants.
Funded by Equal Justice Works, the Sisters of Charity and indi-
vidual donations, the Pretrial Project is designed to close the gap
in support services left by the lack of a public defender office. In
most jurisdictions, capital defense attorneys work in teams and are
supported by research attorneys, paralegals and in-house investiga-
tors and mitigation specialists. An individual appointment system,
such as that in Harris County, funds only the top of the ticket
- the attorneys who go to court if there is a trial - without provid-
ing the support. GRACE uses a system that has proven to be ex-
tremely successful in other jurisdictions, focusing heavily on behind
the scenes tasks such as record collection, legal research and client
development. We have already worked with a number of capital
defense teams in Harris County who have brought their capital
cases to successful conclusions.
Our free services are divided into four basic categories: 1) mo-
tions practice - both case-specific and systemic; 2) scorched -earth
records collection; 3) case management; 4 ) client development .
Case-specific motions practice speaks for itself. Of course, it
means researching and drafting motions which address legal points
unique to your case, above and beyond the standard motions
which are filed in all capital cases. While all criminal defense at-
torneys practicing in Harris County could probably come up \vith
a limitless list of systemic injustices, systemic litigation can be a
time-consuming and expensive task. Going through thousands of
cases to pull out the documents necessary to conduct a hearing
into discrimination in the selection of grand jurors, for instance, is
impossible without an army of free interns, but these challenges can
Competency & sanity assessment; DWl
(SFST Instructor); eyewitness factors; risk!
dangerousness; voir dire; malingering;
personal injury; child custody
[[9[4- Astoria Blvd., Suite 4-90, Houston, TX 77089
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win cases.
By relying upon the energy, enthusiasm and free labor of young
attorneys and interns, we take a "scorched earth," approach to re-
cord collection and investigation, going far beyond what is typically
possible the budget provided to solo practitioners for hiring
mitigation specialists and investigators. For instance, we do com-
plete cOillthouse records checks on every name that appears on any
document in a given case, this includes a search ofstate, county and
federal court files for criminal, civil, traffic, family law, property,
bankruptcy, marriage and other records.
High volume capital trial offices in other jurisdictions have de-
veloped case management techniques for organizing the thousands
of documents that can be generated in a case into useable data for
motions, exhibits and trial notebooks. The availability of cheap and
free labor through GRACE makes it possi ble not only to collect
more and different kinds of documents than ever before, but also
allows us to index, digest and process documents in much greater
detail, to generate theory memos, investigation plans, timelines,
suggested pretrial motions, and trial notebooks. a larger team often fosters better dient/attorney com-
munications, as clients can get visited more often and may respond
differently to different approaches. This can lead to increased will -
ingness to discuss uncomfortable issues necessary for developing a
mitigation case or investigating culpability, and often makes clients
more responsive to possible plea deals: clients who feel confident
about the quality of representation are more willing to recognize
that their case may simply nOt be winnable at trial. This is another
example of how trained, volunteer interns can make an invaluable
contribution, by accomplishing tasks too time-consuming for ap-
pointed attorneys.
Of course, this is just a brief overview of what we can do. The
bottom line is that we are here to heip you win cases! If you have
any questions at all, please contact me at (713) 869-4722 or I look forward to meeting and working with
402 Maio, 2nd Floor (713) 526-6282
Houstoo, Texas 77002
The Science ond Art oP Jury Selection
,   __ - I .... __ .....
A. Introduction
Jury selection is an art. And, as with all art, beauty is in the eye
of the beholder. Although not everyone can be a Fred Astaire on the
dance floor, there are effective and ineffective ways to conduct one of
the most important, if not the most important, phases of a trial. The
secret is to do it right while being "yourself." If you are not yourself,
it will show and you will come across as a charlatan. The purpose of
this part of the article is to give you some ideas on how I conduct voir
dire in order to help you find what works for you. As a result, I have
written this portion in the first person.
When I begin voir dire, I have three goals in mind. First, I want
to endear myself and, through me, my client to the prospective ju-
rors. Second, I want to influence their mind-set and perspective so
they wiU: (a) hold the government to its burden of proof; and (b)
fmd my client not guilty. Finally, I want to eliminate those individuals
whose mind-set I carmot mold and whose perspective I carmot guide.
In preparing for voir dire, I literally sit down and figure out what
areas will be fodder for strikes for cause. Generally speaking, those
areas include, the concept that the defendant has no burden or proof,
whether the defense puts on a case, whether the defendant will testify,
whether a police officer is given more credence simply because he is a
police officer, whether the prospective juror would be influenced sim-
ply by the nature of the offense, and whether the prospective juror can
consider the fuU range of punishment, i.e., probation. Thought must
also be given to the specific characteristic of the offense charged. Will
there be a child-witness? Is the State relying solely on one witness? Is
there a defensive issue, such as self-defense?
What foUows are a few tips on effective voir dire examination
and an outline of the topics I attempt to cover in my trials. The topics
discussed in tl1e outline are not always in the order they are presented
below. Otten times, the nature of a particular offense or time con-
straints set by the court will dictate a different order of presentation.
Additionally, not aU the topics discussed below are necessarily used
in every case. I have included the topics I discuss in most cases and I
have set them in the order I generally use at trial. I have also included
sample questions I use in DWI cases, eyewitness identification cases,
and sexual assault of a child cases, as weU as some questions I ask re-
garding punishment.
For purposes of this article, I have included a "script," as it were,
to give you an idea of what I say and how I say it. The script, of
course, is not always the same. I have also included commentary in
order to allow you to better understand why I present the topic in
the fashions discussed. This outline is, by no means, all inclusive and
should not be used as an actual script. Remember, tl1e most important
aspect of presenting your case to the jury is your ability to be yourself
in telling your story. Find what works for you and discard the rest. I
hope this wilJ give you some good ideas for your next trial.
B. Tips for Effective Voir Dire
1. Have a Theory and a Theme
Trying a case \vithout a theory and a theme is like driving across the
country witl10ut a road map. Sometimes the shotgun approach works,
but that is more a product of dumb-luck than it is of good lawyering.
What is your case about? What is a phrase you can repeat time and
again throughout the trial of your case? One way to develop your
theory is to write down, in 25 words or less and using the relevant ele-
ments of the offense and any defenses, what the case is all about. For
example, in a murder case involving self-defense, your theory might
look something like this: "My client is not guilty of murder because
the bully he shot attacked him with a knife, he had no place to run,
and he had no choice but to shoot or be killed. The way I developed
this theory was by using the poignant words in the case: murder, self-
defense, my client, not guilty, bully, shooting, attack, knife, escape,
and choices.
A theme, on the other hand, is the "battle cry" for your case.
In coming up with a theme, replace legal terminology with com-
mon English. For example, self-defense becomes "the bully needed
killing;" duress becomes "desperate and out of options;" the lack of
crin1inal intent becomes "a tragic accident;" and no scheme to defraud
becomes "all the cards were on the table." You can also use trilogies in
your theme. For example, in a case where the authorities arrested the
wrong man, your theme might be: "Client was in the wrong place,
at the wrong time, with the wrong people, but the police got the
wrong man." In a DWI case, your theme might be: "Client is awk-
ward, clumsy, and uncoordinated, but he was not intoxicated." In a
mistaken eyewitness identification case, your theme might be: "faUible
memories and faulty police procedures led to a false identification."
The act ofdeveloping a theory and a theme is a significant part of
trial preparation. It helps you clarifY the issues and directs you atten-
tion to the strengths and weaknesses of both your case and the State's
case. Once you have developed a tl1eory and a "battle cry" to repeat
and inject at every opportunity, you will have a clear and direct road
map  of where  your  case  is  headed  and  how  to  get  to  the  result  you 
desire.  Most  importantly,  you  will  be  able  to  convey  that  road  map 
to the jury.  Without the  map,  you  and  the jurors are  prone  to getting 
2.  Identify the "Hot Topics" for Jury Selection 
What are  areas  in  your case that provide fertile  ground  for  strikes 
for  cause?  It is  important to  identifY  these  areas  in  advance  and  pre-
pare your outline in  a way  that deals  with  them effectively.  In a DWl, 
such  areas  may  include,  for  example: breath test  refusals,  the credibil-
ity  of police officers,  the consumption of alcohol, and intoxication as 
opposed to consumption. In a sexual  assault  of a child case, such areas 
may  include: the  nature  of the  offense,  the  fact  your client  was  even 
charged  with  the  offense,  credibility  of a child-witness,  and  availabil-
ity  of physical  evidence. All  cases  share  some  common  areas,  such  as 
the  Fifth Amendment,  the  State's  burden  of proof,  and  whether  any 
panelist  has  been  affected  by  or been  a  victim  of the  type  of offense 
charged. IdentifY the areas in  your case  that will give  rise  to a strike for 
cause  so you can  remove  these  unfavorable  jurors. 
3.  Be Yourself (It's Okay to  be Nervous) 
The  number  one  rule  is  be  yourself.  It  is  absolutely  imperative 
that you  find  what works  for  you  and  run  with  it.  There  are  as  many 
styles  in  conducting voir dire  as  there  are  lawyers.  The worst mistake 
you  can  make in front of the panel is  to pretend to  be  something you 
are  not.  If you  are  not genuine, it  will  show  and  your  client will  pay 
the  consequences.  It  is  perfectly  alright  to  simply  be  honest.  One  of 
the  first  things  I  do in  jury selection  is  get honest with  the  panel.  If! 
am  nervous, which  I am  always,  I tell  them  I am  nervous. If I am  ner-
vous,  but in  a good  mood, I  tell  them so  and  I  tell  them  the  reason  I 
am  in a good mood: the sun is  out, we  are in Judge SO-N-SO's court, 
we  appreciated  their  responses  to  the  prosecutor's  questions.  Often 
times,  before  jury selection  begins,  I  will  go  into  the  restroom  and 
look  at  myself in  the  mirror and  see  myself as  a  fallible  human  being 
who  is  about to simply do the  best  he  can  and try to realize  that is  all 
I  can do. 
4.  Call  the State "The State" 
Jury  selection  is  about  creating  a  group.  The  members  of the 
group are  my  client,  the  jury,  the  judge,  and me. The  prosecution  is 
never  welcome  in  my  group, unless  of course  they care  to admit their 
mistake  in  prosecuting my  innocent client. AI; such, it is  important to 
personalize  and  humanize your side  while  depersonalizing and  dehu-
manizing the  prosecution.  I  do this  by  referring to the prosecutors as 
"the prosecution,"  "the State," or "the government,"  even  if I  know 
the  prosecutors  on  the  case.  Calling  them  by  name  only  humanizes 
t11em  and  personalizes  them  to  the  jury.  If I  do  not particularly  care 
for  the  prosecutor,  I  may  even  call him  or her "the assistant  prosecu-
tor,"  as  if he  or  she  was  not a  real  prosecutor.  The jury  rarely  knows 
the  difference  and  the  prosecutors  will  not  know  what  to  do.  What 
are  they going to do? " Objection, your Honor. I'm an  assistant  D.A., 
not an  assistant prosecutor?" Then you  could  just keep  calling  the  as-
sistant prosecutors the  rest of the  trial. 
5.  Call Your Client by His First Name 
Always  call  your client  by  his  first  name.  In  federal  court, where 
things are  more formal, simply refer to him and  BILL SMITH, rather 
than just BILL.  Never,  never,  never call  your client "the defendant." 
He is  not a defendant . He is  not some  cause  number.  He is  a human 
being who  has a  name  and  his  name  is  BILL SMITH.  If you  do  not 
treat  him  like  a  human  being,  the  jury  will  never  relate  to  him  as  a 
human  being. He will  remain a faceless  defendant in  a system  of cause 
6.  Dress Like a  Lawyer, Not a  Shyster 
Wear  a  conservative  suit.  I  usually  wear  a  blue  suit,  white  slUrt. 
and  red  tie. The subliminal  message  is  that I am  patriotic.  My goal  is 
look  like  a  prosecutor,  a  boy  scout,  a  good,  red-blooded  American 
boy. Avoid,  at  a'u  costs,  wearing  a  double  breasted  suit.  People  view 
lawyers  in  double  breasted  suits  as  shysters  or too slick. Additionally, 
leave  the Rolex on the  night stand, along with any other jewelry.  Fan-
cy  watches,  bracelets,  and  rings  are  for  shysters  and  slicksters.  These 
same  rules  apply  to  your client  and  your witnesses.  Everyone  should 
dress  conservatively.  They  should  not,  however,  over-dress.  If your 
client rarely,  if ever, wears  a suit, do not put lUm  in one. I usually  have 
my clients  wear  khaki  pants, a  light colored,  button-down  shirt, and 
permy  loafers.  If you  have  the  opportunity  to  select  the  jury on  one 
day  and  start  testimony  on  a  separate  day,  wear  a  light  colored  suit 
and  subtle  tie  for  jury selection.  These  will  be  much less  intimidating 
and  will  allow  you  to  appear  non-threatening to  the  members  of the 
7. Ask Questions - Don't Give a  Speech 
In  conducting  voir  dire,  our  natural  tendency  is  to  educate  the 
panel on the various aspects of our case  by giving a speech. Jury selec-
tion,  however,  is  a  time  to  learn  from  the  jurors,  not  the  other way 
around.  You  can  educate  them  just as  effectively  by  asking questions 
about their  thoughts and  feelings  on the  law  or a given  set of circllm-
stances  as  YOll  can  delivering  a  speech. What  is  more,  you  will  learn 
something about what  makes  each  panelist ti ck,  if you  ask  questions. 
If you give a speech, you learn absolutely nothing. It is  quite alright to 
explain  the rules. But do so with an  eye  toward getting t11eir  feedback 
as opposed  to  convincing  them  of your way  of looking at  the  law  or 
the set of circumstances. 
r . .
8.  Concentrate on Those in the "Hot Seat" 
The " hot seat" is  any seat subject to being impaneled  on the jury. 
In a felony,  it  is  the  first  24 panelists.  In a misdemeanor,  it  is  the  first 
12 panelists. Keep  track of those  panelists in  t11e  "hot seat"  who  may 
be  subject  to  a  challenge  of cause.  For every  panelist  who  is  subject 
to  a strike,  add  another seat  to  the  "hot seat"  list.  Do not waist  time 
on  those  folks  outside  this  zone,  unless,  of course,  they can  give  you 
good  feedback  and  help  you  educate  the  other panelists . Finally,  ask 
questions  of everyone  in  the  "hot  seat."  If you  do  not  ask  mem  a 
question, you  carmot learn  anything about memo 
9.  Loop, Loop, Loop 
Looping  is  a very  powerful  tool  in  our arsenal.  It is  the  method 
by  which  you  get the  panelists  to discuss  each other's answers  and  to 
educate  each  other on  me  topics  you  discuss.  By  looping,  you  learn 
more  about a  greater  number of people  in  a  shorter  period  of time, 
than  simply  questioning  one  prospective  juror  per  subject.  Looping 
can  be  accomplished  by  asking questions such  as:  "How many  of you 
agree  [or disagree]  wim what Mr.  Juror said ?," "Ms . Venire, what do 
you think [or feel] about what Mr. Juror said?," "Mr. Panelist, what
are your thoughts [or feelings] about what Ms. Venire said?" Notice
that you can ask what I call "think" or "feel" questions. Generally
speaking, men are thinkers and women are feelers. Tbis is not always
the case, though, so be careful. Ask thinkers, "What to you think
about ..." and feelers, "How do you feel about ... ". If you ask
an engineer how he feels, you will not get a good response because
he will have difficulty expressing his opinions in terms of feelings.
Likewise, feelers bave difficulty expressing their opinions in terms of
logic or thought processes. (Tbinkers = the pieces of the puzzle fit
together. Feelers = witb the pieces together, the puzzle is pretty. It is
all the same puzzle, though.)
10. Dealing with the Mouthy Pest and the Church Mouse
On almost every panel, there is one prospective juror who likes
to bear himself talk. Sometimes he is favorable to you and sometimes
not. Eitber way, there will come a point during jury selection wbere
you will need to shut him down. If he is favorable, tbe danger of
letting him go on and on is that you now bave someone few people
want to hear from, again and again, as tbe poster-boy for your cause.
You do not want other members of tbe panel turning a deaf ear to
the merits of your case because it is coming from this self-appointed
delegate for the entire panel. On the otber hand, the obvious danger
of someone who views the merits of your case through differently
shaded lenses, is that he will poison the panel. Of course, this panelist
could do the same thing to the State as the latter panelist could do to
you. In either event, be polite. You can say to such a panelist, "Hold
that thought. I'll get back to you in just a moment [like, when hell
freezes over]" or "I appreciate you raising your hand, but I need to
hear from Mr. Juror right now." You can even ask permission. "Mr.
Juror, tbank you for your candor, can I get back to you in a moment?
I need to hear from Ms. Venire right now."
On the other end of tile spectrum, mere is the church mouse.
There is always a prospective juror who will not talk or will not be
candid. People are overly qLliet or less than candid because they fear
being stigmatized, meir feelings conflict wim their self-perception,
or they want to avoid the issue rather than confront it. The best ap-
proach is one of empathy. Try telling the panelist, "I sense some hesi-
tation in your answer. It is absolutely alright to have hesitations or
reservations; I just need to know if you do." Alternatively, you could
tell the panelist, "I sense that you may be a little nervous. I'm nervous
too. It's perfectly alright to be nervous." With Jess than candid panel-
ists you could ask them, "Have you ever held a different view on this
subject?" Another way to ask mis same question is, "Tell me what you
tbink another view on this subject might be?"
C. Jury Selection Outline
My name is Ktvin Fine. I'm from Lubbock, Texas. So, ifI sound like
I talk a little funny, you know I come by it honestly. I'm also a little
bit nervous. So, if I sound nervou)' up here talking to ya'll, let me
assure you, it's because I am nervous. I always get nervous standing
up in front of people and talking. I'm also nervous because I have
BILL SMITH'S life in my hands for the next few days. BILL, stand
up. [Walk over to Client and put your hand on his shoulder.]' Ladies
and gentlemen, this is BILL SMITH. It's BILL'S life I have in my
hands. And ifI make a mistake or do something wrong or do some-
thing that makes you mad, it's BILL that pays the price, not me. And
that makes me very nervous.
Comment: The trial of a case depends, to a large extent, on group
dynamics. What I want to accomplish in the courtroom is a group
composed of the jury, my client, me and, witb a little luck, tbe judge.
In this one short paragraph I have taken a large step in that direction.
I have introduced and bumanized myself (I am from Lubbock, but I
practice, for the most part, in Houston) . I have introduced and hu-
manized my client. I have let the panel know it is okay to be nervous
(they are nervous, too, even if they will not admit it). And I have let
them know this is a serious matter, at least to my client and me. The
reason I tell me panel I am nervous is two-fold. First, I really am ner-
vous and telling them so actually helps calm my nerves and begins my
own mental process of connecting with me jurors. The other reason
is that I use tbe opportunity to humanize my client and begin the
process of getting the jurors to be in "my group."
How many ofyou have heard the phrase, «your word is your bond
(fa man is only as good as his word?"
I'm going to count on you to live by that principle throughout this
This is a time to say exactly what   ~ t think and tell us exactly how
you feel. It is not a time for polite reservation about your feelings or
opinions. There are no wrong answers.
A trial by jzwy is one of our most precious privileges.
How many ofyou knew that we are one ofonly seven countries in the
world that have trial)' when someone is accused ofa crime?
How  abollt that we  are  one  of only four countries where  it is  a  trial 
by one's peers? 
I  believe  it is  both  a  privilege  and  a  duty  to  serve  on  a jury.  Some 
people  want to  serve,  others do  not.  Ifyou  don't get to  serve  or don 't 
have to serve,  depending on your point ofview,  I hope to  at least make 
this a learning experience for you. 
Comment: Noticethatmyquestionis "Howmanyofyou have heard
..?" as opposed to "Haveyou heard ..?" Thefirst question asks for
numbers in a group and lets the individual panelists feel more com-
fortable about raising their hands.The latter question, even ifasked
oftheentirepanel,is aquestionaddressed to an individual and leaves
openthe possibiJitythattheirs mightbe theonlyhand goingup. You
will getagreaterresponse toquestionsaddressed in wordsconnoting
a group as opposed to connoting an individual. Also, the first ques-
tion outofthe box is one likely todrawa response from most, ifnot
all, the panelists. The idea is to get them involved in the discussion
[Ask them to keep theirhands raised.]
criminals have  too  many rights? 
too  many criminalsget off on  technicalities? 
the  lawyer's job is to get his client off? 
Knowing how you feel, how am I going to make sure BILL gets a
fair trial?
[Getresponses from atleast three (3)panelists.]
One  way I  can  make sure BILLgets a fair trial is to  educate you  on  the 
law.  As I said,  I hope this jury selection process will at least be  a learning 
experience for you. 
Let's  Change  the  Qy.estion:  How  many  of  you  feel 
the  citizens of the  State of Texas have too  many rights? 
too  many citizens are protected by  our constitution? 
too  many citizensget to  have lawyers represent them  in court? 
What is BILL? 
[Make  them say he a  «citizen.»} 
The  phrases  «bias and prejudice" and  "fair and impartial" have  a 
negative  connotation  in  our society.  But in  our jllstice  system,  they 
have  specific  legal  meanings.  As  we go  through  this  process,  what 
we're  really  talking about  is  not whether you  have  a  bias  or  preju-
dice  or you  can  be fair and impartial,  in  the  traditional sense,  but 
whether you  can  be  neutral.  None  of us  can  be  neutral all the  time. 
What I'm  trying to find  out is  whether certain  aspects of the  law  or 
this type  of case  makes this one  of those  times you  cal1not be  neutral. 
D. PINKELEPHANT(Alternative)
An alternative  to  this  method  is  asking the  panel to  close  their eyes 
and imagine a pink elephant. Ask them  to  visualize its ears,  whether 
their elephant has tusks,  whether the  tips of the  ears are  white,  black 
or pink. 71Jen  ask  them  to  open  their eyes.  Tell  them  that for the  next 
30 seconds,  no  matter  what  they  do,  do  not  picture  their  elephant 
in  their  mind.  Get feed  back  on  whether  they  are  able  to  block  the 
thought from  their  mind  and  why  it is  so  difficult.  Then  explain 
that what you  are  trying  to  find  out is  whether  they  have  a  «pink 
elephant" regarding some  aspect of the  law  or this type  of case.  Every 
time you find someone  who  may be  a candidate for a strike for cause 
on  a  particular subject,  ask  them  whether  the  subject  is  a  «pink  el-
ephant» for them . 
Comment: Byexplainingthewordsbias,prejudice,fair, and impartial
in this way, I have given the jurors permission to openly admit they
have a bias orprejudiceorthattheycannotbe fair and impartial. All
we have done is change thewords used to express the legal justifica-
tion for a challenge for cause. So often in our business,it is simply a
matterof semanticsin persuadingthejudgeorjurytoourside.
Always geta copy ofthe court's charge before jury selection begins.
You should already have this in your file or trial notebook. Ifnot,
obtain a copy from court personnel. In Houston it is the court re-
[Holding  the    charge  up  so  everyone  can  see  it.}  The  12 of you 
who  are  chosen  to  sit  on  the  jury will  be given  instructions form Judge 
50- N-SO regarding the  law  that applies to  this  case.  Judge 50-N-SO is 
the judge of the  law  and he  sets out all the  law you  will use  in rendering 
your verdict. 
Comment: This is an absolute must. By gettingacopy ofthe charge
and showing the panelists as you discuss the fundamental principles
contained in the charge,you let them know thatwhatyou are saying
is comingdirectly from the judgeand thatyou are notputtingsome
type ofspin on the information. This also helps you bound with the
judge, at least in the eyes ofthe panelists, and starts the process of
making thejudgea memberofthegroupyou are creating.
As a juror,  you,  too,  have  extraordinary power.  Judge  50-N-SO is,  as  I 
said,  the judge of the  law.  He  will make rulings on  objections - I  will be 
objecting  at certain  times.  You  can  count on  that and I  hope  that does 
not offend  anyone.  I  wouldn't be  doing  my job  if I  didn't.  You,  on  the 
other hand,  will be judges of the facts,  both  individually and collectively. 
No  one isgoing to  be able  to go back  after you  have made a decision  and 
question  or reverse  what you  decide  the facts are. 
AndJudge  SO- N-SO tells you  that right here  [Point to  the  appropriate 
paragraph.] where  it says  ('yOtl are the  exclusive judges of the facts . ... »
How  many ofyou have read the  book  or seen  the  movie,  '70 Kill a Mock-
ingbird?" Remember how  Atticus pleaded  with  the jury to  do  the  right 
thing? Remember how  everyone  knew  what the right thing to  do  was? 
But lvhat happened to  Tom  Robinson? 
Could anyone go back  and change what the jury decided? 
That's how  much power you have as a juror. 
Comment:  Notice  that  I  call  the  Judge  by  name  several  times.  I  do 
this  because  it  shows  both  familiarity  with  and  respect  for  the  Judge 
in  front of the panel. I  fmd  the judges like  it as  well.  Mter all,  they are 
elected  officials  and  the  more  times  you  repeat  their  name,  the  more 
likely  the  panelists  are  to remember  it.  I  do  this  throughout my  jury 
selection.  Saying  "the Court" or "the Judge" sounds impersonal.  By 
calling  the  Judge  by  name,  I  am  further  making  him  a  part  of the 
group. With  the  prosecution,  however,  I  always  refer  to  them  as  "the 
State" or "the Government" or "the prosecution." At  times, I will  use 
the  term  "assistant  prosecutors"  - (as  if they  were  not  real  prosecu-
tors). This is  a kind of slant on the prosecutors and they usually do not 
know how to react. What are  they going to do, object?  I  never use  the 
term  "District Attorney" or "D.A." or "Assistant D.A." Many people 
look up  to  the  position  of district attorney and  their assistants. 
One of the  instructions Judge  SO-N-SO will give you  is  that you  cannot 
consider certain  things  in  this  case  as  evidence  of BILL's guilt.  He  will 
also  instruct you  that ifyou  hear one  of the  other jurors bring it up,  you 
are  to  tell the  other juror not to  discuss  that matter.  In other words,  that 
you  are to  shut them down,  ifthey bring up the subject. 
What I  need to  know is  whether you  can  do  that.  Are you  the  type  ofper-
son  who  will stand their ground, because  it is the right thing to  do,  or are 
you  the  type  ofperson  who  will  «go  along to get along?" 
Comment:  This  topic  of discussion  gives  individual  jurors  permis-
sion  to stand  their ground  and  lets  them  know  they  have  permission 
from  the  court to do so. 
Om ofthe  instructions Judge  SO-N-SO will give you  is  on  the presump-
tion of innocence. 
How  many  of you,  when  you  walked  in  and  saw  BILL  sitting  there, 
thought to  yourself,  «I wonder what he  did?"  (Maybe  you  were  looking 
at me  wondering what I  did.)  [This  usually  gets  a  laugh,  especially  if 
your  client  is  wearing  a suit.  But,  as  with  aU  humor,  it  must  be  used 
sparingly and  is  not appropriate  in  certain  cases  or in  front  of certain 
I  think it is perfectly normal to  walk in here  with that question  on  your 
mind. But do  you  see  how  that is the presumption  ofguilt as  opposed  to 
the presumption ofinnocence? 
Mr. Juror,  what does  the presumption ofinnocence mean to you? 
That is  exactly right.  A  law professor could not have said it better.  Let's 
show you  what Judge  SO-N-SO instructions say.  [Read it  to  the  panel.] 
All  persons  are  presumed  innocent,  and  no  person  may  be 
convicted  of an  offense  unless  each  element  of the  offense  is 
proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact  that a person  has 
been  arrested, confined, or indicted for,  or otherwise charged 
with  the  offense  gives  rise  to  no  inference  of guilt  at  his/  her 
Comment:  I  am  of the  school  of thought  that  a  person  learns  best 
by seeing and  hearing what is  presented. Thus, I  use  blowup  exhibits 
to  instill  in  the  panelists  the  fimdamental  principles  in  our  criminal 
justice system.  The law  included  in  all  criminal  jury charges  contains 
legal  concepts  that  are  great  for  the  defense  and  of which  the  jury 
needs  a good  working knowledge.  Time and  again, I  see  lawyers  pass 
over discussing these legal  concepts and  the  jury later listening  to  the 
case  with  the  idea  the  State's  burden  is  nothing  more  than  a  "gut-
check."  We  know,  because  the  experts  tell  us,  jurors  come  to  court 
with  preconceived  notions,  such  as  the  idea  that the  defendant  must 
have  done  something  or  we  would  not  be  here,  the  idea  that  both 
sides  have  to  prove  something,  that the  jury  is  there  to  put  together 
all  the  pieces  and  come  to  a conclusion  as  to  what  actually  occurred, 
and that in  reaching that conclusion, the jurors are supposed  to "keep 
score,"  for  lack  of a  better  word,  to  determine  who  wins.  Part  of 
our job during jury selection  is  to  redirect  their thinking. One of the 
most effective  ways  to do this  is  by educating  them  on the law  that is 
already  there. 
How  many of you  want the  defense  to  put on  a  case?  That  is,  to  call 
witnesses to the stand and, perhaps, even call the citizen accttSed to the
What if the assistant prosecutors called all of their witnesses and said to
Judge SO-N-SO, ''l\& rest, your Honor.)) Do you expect us to call witnesses
after that? [If so, the panelist may be subject to a challenge for cause
based on his or her inability to follow the law.]
Iflve didn't call any witnesses, what affect might that have on your de-
liberations in the jury room?
Ifyou deliberated and found that you had a doubt, based on reason, as
to a citizen accused's guilt, would the fact that the defense didn't put on
a case weigh in to your deliberations?
Ifso, how would that weigh in to your deliberations?
lfthat fact is something you would consider, are you saying that this is a
point about which you cannot be neutral? (are YOtt saying this might be
a pink elephant for you?)
Is there anything I could say to get you to be neutral?
Is there anything the assistant prosecutors could say to get you to be neu-
How about Judge SO- N-SO, is there anything he could say?
What if he told you, in order to sit on this jury, you have to be neutral,
would thatget you to be neutral? [This is  the lock-in  question  for  your 
challenge  for  cause.] 
Let me show you the instruction }ttdge SO- N-SO will give you. [Read  it 
to  the panel.] 
The law does not require a defendant to pr01'Je his innocence or prodttce
any evidence at all. The presumption of innocence alone is mfficient to
acquit the defendant, unless the jurors are satisfied beyond a reasonable
doubt ofthe defendant's guilt after careful and impartial consideration
ofall the evidence in the case.
Notice the instruction repeats that the accused is preSttmed innocent.
Also notice that this instruction tells you how high the State's burden is.
It says the State must satiifY you «beyond a reasonable doubt. )) And we're
going to talk about that next.
But first, let me go back to what Mr. Juror said. How many ofyou feel
like Mr. Juror - that you cannot be neutral on the issue of the accused
having no burden? [This  exposes  other  panelists  who  are  subject  to 
a  strike  for  cause  or,  if the  challenge  is  denied  because  they  recant, 
should,  perhaps,  be  struck using  a peremptory.] 
Let's talk about how high the State's burden really is. In our justice sys-
tem, we have five (5)  levels or «burdens)) of proof [Show  chart  to  the 
(5) Beyond  all
Reasonable  Doubt. 
How  high  should  the
government's  burden 
be  before  they  take 
away  your liberty?
(4) Clear and Convincing Evi-
dence.  How  high  should  the 
government's  burden  be  before 
they  take  away  your child? 
(3) Preponderance  of the  Evidence. 
How  high  should  the  government's 
burden  be  before  they  take  away  all  of 
your money? 
(2) Probable  Cause.  How  high  should  the 
government's burden be before they come into 
your  home  and  rifle  through  your  chest-of-
(1) Reasonable Suspicion.  How high should  the government's bur-
den  be  before  they stop you  and  interrupt your day? 
Mrs. Jurist, how high should the government's burden be before they stop
you and interrupt your day? [Ask at least tllree  (3) panelists and record 
the  adjectives  they use.] 
That'.r called "reasonable suspicion.)) It is the level of proof the govern-
ment or the State of Texas must meet before they stop you and interrupt
your day.
Mlc Panelist, how high should the government's burden be before they
come into your home and rifle through your chest-oI-drawers? [Ask  at 
least  three  (3) panelists and  record  the  adjectives  they use.] 
That's called "probable cause.)) That is the level of proof the govemment
or the State of Texas must meet before they come into your own home
and rifle through your personal belongings. It is also the level of proof
they must meet before they arrest you and accuse you of committing an
Ms. Vernireperson, holP high should the government's burden be before,
say, the I.R.S., seizes all ofyour money and all ofyour property and ac-
cuses you of owing taxes? (1 have no idea what the actual burden is in
fighting with the I.R.S., but  jurors  can  relate  to  this.)  [Ask  at  least 
three  (3)  panelists  and  record  the adjectives  they use .] 
That's called "preponderance ofthe evidence. )) 1t's the level ofproofneces-
sary to take away your assets.
Mrs. Prospective J1/ror, how high should the government's b1/rden be be-
fore they take Mrs. Jurist's own children away from her and call her a
bad mother? (1  try to ask  this  question  by referring to someone on the 
panel who is  a  mother.  No one wants  to call  a woman a  bad  mother.) 
[Ask  at  least  three  (3)  panelists and  record  the  adjectives  they  use.] 
Ibis is called «clear and convincing C1lidence.» It's the lC1let ofproof the government must meet
before they come into your home and take your own children away from you.
Lastly, Mr. Venireman, how high should the government's burden be before they take away some-
one's liberty - or, in Texas, their very life? [Ask at  least  three  (3) panelists and  record  the adjec-
tives  they  use.] 
Comment: A thorough  explanation  of "proof beyond  a  reasonable  doubt"  is  vital  in  every 
criminal  trial.  A thorough explanation  and a solid  understanding of the burden lays  the  foun-
dation  for  getting  the  jurors  to  view  the  case  from  the  vantage  point of asking  whether  the 
State has proven its case as  opposed to asking whether the defendant has demonstrated his  in-
nocence. A large  part of that foundation  is  making sure the jurors understand  the substantial 
burden the State  has. After Geesa,  (citations omitted), jurors now define for  themselves what 
"proof beyond  a reasonable doubt" means. Whether this  is  positive  or negative  is  debatable . 
The deletion of a legal definition, though, does open the door for  us  to defme it as  high as  we 
possibly  can. Without a comparison of "proof beyond  a reasonable doubt"  to the other bur-
dens in our justice system, though, the jurors have no reference point for a real  understanding 
of the  significant hurdle the State must overcome  to obtain a conviction. 
So, what happens ifyou are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt?
Judge SO-N-SO has a specific instruction to you in this regard. [Hold  up  the  jury charge  and 
point to the  relevant portion, then  read  to them  the  last  blowup.] 
... IF  YOU HAVE  "A" 
"Unless you  so fmd  beyond a reasonable doubt, or if you  have  "A" reasonable doubt 
thereof, you  will  acquit the defendant and  say  by your verdict 'NOT GUILTY.'" 
Ifyou have a doubt, based on reason, what has Judge 50- N -SO instructed you to do? [Ask at least
three (3) panelists.]
What does all this mean? Boiled down to its simplest terms, it means you have to be convinced
beyond all doubt, based on reason, before you can return a guilty verdict. You may think he might
beguilty. You may think he is probably guilty. But ifthere is any doubt, whatsoC1lel, that is reason-
able, then you MUST say notguilty.
Cell 512-302-4274
Phone 512-847-8199
Wim berley, Texas
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better communication with  prosecutors and  the judiciary. 
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