From, comes Pat McCarthy’s article “Turning Testimony from Stressful to Successful”. Before we get to the parts that a skeptical defense lawyer might highlight on his blog, let me give some kudos to the subtitle:

The baseline for all good witnesses is to just tell the truth — the benchmark for cops on the stand is that we’re just doing our jobs

OK, the first part is good, tell the truth. Not that any witness who was just sworn in (“Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you shall give in the cause now pending before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, yadda, yadda, yadda…”) should need a refresher course on the necessity of telling the truth… but, that’s certainly an admirable piece of advice to put up front in any how-to article about testifying. Especially if your audience needs that as a reminder.

Continue Reading Police Testimony 101

Here’s a quiz for you.

A young woman is trying to use a depleted and/or somehow otherwise broken fire extinguisher to put out the flames engulfing her car. (Right now. This is happening right in front of you.)
You tell her to wait while you run and get another extinguisher. Having made that promise, you decide not to dilly dally, but instead to run across the street to the nearest establishment that might have one.

Unfortunately, you don’t technically make it all the way across the street, because you are hit by a car. You are flung 15 to 20 feet, you require medical attention in the form of a staple in your head and a neck brace at the ER, you will walk around with a limp for a few days, but good grief, you were hit by a car and you’ll survive. Quit complaining, right?

Continue Reading This May Be A Case Where We Need To Utilize Discretion

From the recitation of facts in the Supreme Court of South Dakota’s recent decision reversing a defendant’s disorderly conduct conviction on the grounds of free speech:

[A]t approximately 2:00 a.m. in Brookings, South Dakota, the bars on Brookings’ Main Avenue had just closed, and the bar patrons were gathering on the sidewalks outside the bars.