Do diagrams, charts, and other visual aids help increase the memory retention of jurors?
Articles in this Issue
Affiliate News for January - February 2016 Champion.
Bargaining for More Trials
The criminal justice system is built around the jury trial, but almost all defendants plead guilty. Gregory Gilchrist urges defense lawyers to employ the mechanism that killed jury trials — bargaining — to revitalize the jury trial. Specifically, he says lawyers ought to negotiate limited trial waivers in exchange for limited leniency. Trial bargaining offers a tool that will mitigate the harms of plea bargaining and generate more, and sometimes better, options for clients.
Book Review: Inferno - An Anatomy of American Punishment
We had a new judge in our county who defeated the incumbent in an election. He had never practiced criminal law. Prosecutors, criminal defense lawyers, and others working in the system were concerned that the new judge would not have a perspective on the actual workings of criminal law. To answer these concerns, the new judge, accompanied by a newspaper reporter, went undercover to see the county jail firsthand. He made a deal with the sheriff to be booked for 48 hours as a businessman, purportedly arrested for vehicular manslaughter, along with the reporter, purportedly a passenger arrested for resisting an officer. Like a really bad movie, only the sheriff and one commander knew the truth.
Book Review: Representing the Accused - A Practical Guide to Criminal Defense
Jill Paperno’s Representing the Accused: A Practical Guide to Criminal Defense is an extremely useful resource for both the novice and more experienced criminal defense attorney alike. Currently Paperno is the First Assistant Public Defender at the Monroe County, New York (Rochester) Public Defender’s Office, and she brings her extensive experience as a practicing criminal defense attorney to this particular work. Moreover, Paperno helped develop the defender training program in Monroe County, an experience that has undoubtedly informed the focus of her book.
From the President: Want to Reduce Recidivism? Address the Mental Health Issues of Those Incarcerate
If incarcerated individuals determined to have mental health issues were subjected to an individualized treatment plan prior to release and further were involved with a program utilizing an interdisciplinary, team approach to guide them through the re-entry process, recidivism would be dramatically reduced.
Happy New Year from the staff at NACDL
Happy New Year from the staff at NACDL.
If You Give a Judge a Case: Judicial Oversight of Deferred Prosecution Agreements
Three district courts have found that a court has the authority to reject a deferred prosecution agreement if it disagrees with the substance of the document, regardless of the agreement of the parties. These rulings can be viewed as violating the separation of powers doctrine. The hook for such judicial review is a provision of the Speedy Trial Act, but does the statute actually give courts the authority to review and reject the substance of DPAs? Plenary review of DPAs may have far-reaching implications. For example, after a court rejects a DPA, is a defendant still bound by the statement of facts admitted to as part of the DPA? If judicial scrutiny of DPAs becomes the norm, defendants should insist on language putting the parties back on an even playing field upon the rejection of a DPA.
Inside NACDL: Elevating Public Defense — One Strategy at a Time
As 2016 begins, the public defense crisis remains at full strength. Even as states and counties shirk the responsibility to adequately provide properly resourced defense counsel, it is important to highlight positive initiatives.
Military Commissions Update
In October, the military commission case against the five people accused of planning the 9/11 attacks resumed for the first time since February. The proceedings were derailed almost immediately when Walid bin Attash announced that he wanted the judge to explain the right to proceed pro se. The war court was also faced with issues centered on Judge Pohl’s order that prevented female guards from handling male detainees in cell extractions. When the commissions resumed in December, bin Attash informed the judge that he refused to recognize Cheryl Bormann as his attorney, although she continued to sit at the defense table. Some defense attorneys estimate that it will be at least five years before a trial begins.
September 2015 marked the close of NACDL’s first year of administering the Public Defense Training Scholarship, which provides reimbursement for registration and some travel expenses at certain legal seminars. In total, 132 public defense practitioners from 36 states received assistance to attend 13 seminars.
State Criminal Justice Network - Legislative Update
Several state legislatures passed laws in 2015 that benefitted people accused of crime.
The Importance of Visual Presentation at Trial
Most people are primarily visual learners. Juror memory retention increases dramatically when oral communication is combined with visual communication. Jason Lynch and Iris Eytan offer tips on using diagrams, charts, graphs and other visual aids that lawyers can prepare relatively easily to present key facts or concepts in a case.