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Whodunit? Solving the Mystery of Writing a First-Rate Criminal Law Essay Exam
I was leaving the post office one day and I saw a license plate that was an acronym for Nancy Drew. I stopped to admire the plate because it immediately took me back to when I was young and would voraciously read Nancy Drew mystery novels. It reminded me that reading the books taught me how to solve mysteries. As a civil litigation attorney, I regularly apply that skill in my practice because, as I go from one case to the next, I solve one mystery at a time.
Normally, the mystery is the extent of the wrongdoing by the opposing party. However, sometimes it is discovering the relevant facts that my client conveniently failed to share with me. Tapping into your inner sleuth will assist you with learning to write first-rate Criminal Law exam answers as well as answers in any other type of law school exam you may encounter.
Prepare to Solve Your Mystery
Preparation is essential to solving the mystery of writing a Criminal Law exam. As a law student, your preparation commences with reading and briefing all the assigned cases. This teaches you the law and how to reason. Further, it assists with preparing your study outline for the class. It also teaches you the discipline of IRAC, which is fundamental to law exam writing.
Fleming’s is in a powerful position to assist with your law school exam preparation - as demonstrated by one of our law students receiving the only known perfect score on a Criminal Law Bar exam. The student who wrote the answer implemented what Fleming’s teaches when answering a Criminal Law exam, and the Bar Examiners rewarded him with a perfect 100 score for his presentation.
So that you can see Fleming’s law exam methods and techniques at work for yourself, I recommend reading our recent article about this student’s impressive accomplishment:
Bar Examiners Give Fleming’s Law Student a Perfect Score on His Essay Exam Answer
The question, along with the student’s perfectly scored answer, is appended at the end of the article. You, too, can achieve this result with Fleming’s at your side.
Every Sleuth Needs a Partner
As Nancy Drew had her Bess Marvin, every sleuth needs a partner. For law students, legal study supplements are your Bess Marvin sidekick. Fleming’s has a wide array of supplements that can assist law students with course substantive law outlines as well as fail-safe methods and techniques for law exam writing .
I highly recommend Fleming’s Sail Through Law School with The Exam Solution® for Criminal Law because it provides a four-hour substantive law lecture, a substantive law outline, and three essay exams with sample California Bar exam answers. This is all you need to tie together everything about the subject that you are learning in the classroom. Reviewing Bar exam answers is invaluable because they assist with how to format, weigh issues, and write persuasive analysis. One of my former students conveyed that the resources from this series really helped her prepare for her recent midterms.
Identify the Suspects
Now that you are ready to commence your law exam writing, you must start with identifying your suspects. Therefore, the first thing you do is read the call of the question. Read it at least twice because it is imperative to understand the scope of your investigation. You must headnote and write on each call of the question separately because failure to do so will result in a failing grade.
Examine the Crime Scene
The next step of your investigation is to examine the crime scene, which is the fact pattern for the exam. Read it twice – concentrate solely on the facts. Read it again to prepare your issue outline as outlining is imperative to your success on the exam. It tells you how many issues you have to write on, which ones are major and minor, and how to allocate your writing time so you do not run short in finishing before time is called.
Map Out the Scope of Your Investigation
When writing law school or California Bar exam answers, you must write on the issues in the order that they are spotted in the fact pattern. You strategize this when outlining the exam, which is why outlining is so crucial to your success.
When drafting your outline make four columns, one for each part of IRAC, to ensure that you write your answer in an orderly manner - including all the required crimes and defenses.
The first column is for the issue, the next for the rule, then the facts for your analysis/application, and the last column for the conclusion. You should abbreviate whenever possible to keep your outline time between 15 – 20 minutes.
The example below for outlining the issue of robbery is taken from Fleming’s Writing Workbook p. 43.
Now that you have examined the crime scene and created your outline, you are ready to write your essay answer. Think about what you want to say before beginning to write. This will help you formulate your thoughts and prevent you from rambling once you get started.
Write Your Investigation Report
A successful answer applies the relevant facts to each element of the rule to persuade the reader as to why the crime or defense succeeds or fails. What you are trying to do is answer the “why” or “why not” regarding each element of the rule, using the facts from the exam.
As an initial matter, you must weigh the issues to ensure you have enough time for major issues such as homicide. A classic Criminal Law California Bar exam will contain a number of crimes and a homicide at the end. Generally, when there is a homicide, you will need 15 – 20 minutes to write on it because you must write on each required issue/subpart. If you run out of time to write a full homicide analysis, you will likely fail the exam because it is a heavily weighted issue.
A superior answer will analyze the arguments of each party. You want to argue on behalf of the State first because it is prosecuting the case. Then you write the counterarguments for the defendant.
Writing both sides will set you apart and increase your score because the majority of students only write on behalf of the prosecution. Developing this skill is essential as an attorney because you must always anticipate the arguments of the opposing party.
There are certain issues that require writing on the common law rule as well as the modern rule or Model Penal Code. Burglary is a classic example. You must analyze common law burglary as well as the modern law distinctions because the burden of proof is lower. When writing on the insanity issue, you must always write on all four insanity excuses.
You must write a one-sentence conclusion regarding each issue on the exam as well as an overall conclusion if required by the call of the question.
Justice Is Served
Writing a first-rate Criminal Law exam takes hard work and discipline. This can be achieved by stepping into the exam to spot and solve each mystery of whether or not the crime or defense succeeds or fails.
Justice will be served when you write a first-class answer and receive your desired passing score. This will put you one step closer to going from law student to lawyer.
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Spring 2022 Past Exams
- Law 112B - Torts Question 1
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- Law 313: Community Property- Question 1
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- Law 216B Evidence Question 1
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- Law 214B: Civil Procedure Question 1
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- Law 320B: Con Law Question 1
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- Law 420 Remedies Question 1
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Spring 2021 Past Exams
- Law 115B: Contracts - Spring 2021 Includes Prof. Tonsing's notes on right margin (beginning on page 10)
- Law 212: Real Property Question 1
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- Law 212: Real Property Question 2
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Fall 2021 Past Exams
- Law 120 Criminal Law Question 1_Fall 2021
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- Law 120 Criminal Law Question 2_Fall 2021
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- Law 120 Criminal Law Question 3_Fall 2021
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- Law 212A Property Question 1_Fall 2021
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FALL 2020 Past Exams and Model Answers (Essays)
- Law 112A: Torts - Questions (2020)
- Law 112A - Torts - Q1 Model Answer (2020)
- Law 112A - Torts-- Q2 Model Answer (2020)
- Law 115a: Contracts - Questions 1-2 (2020)
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- Law 120: Criminal Law - Questions (2020)
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- Law 318 Criminal Procedure - Questions (2020)
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- Law 318 Criminal Procedure - Q2 Model Answer (2020)
- Law 214a: Civil Procedure - Questions (2020)
- Law 214a: Civil Procedure - Q 1-2 Model Answers (2020)
- Law 216a: Evidence - Questions (2020)
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- Law 425: Business Associations - Questions (2020)
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- Law 418: Professional Responsibility - Question (2020)
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- Law 315: Wills & Trusts - Questions (2020)
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- Law 216B: Evidence - Questions (2021)
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- Law 212 - Question 1
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2018-2019 Past Exams and Model Answers
- Zimba - Civil Procedure Essay Questions - Spring 2019
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- Prochovnick - Real Property Essay Questions - Spring 2019
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- Kelley - Criminal Law - Essay Questions - Spring 2019
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- Taylor - Wills & Trusts - Essay Question - Fall 2018
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- Business Associations - Essay Questions - Spring 2019
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- Community Property (CA) - Essay Question - Spring 2019
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- Contracts Essay Question - Spring 2019
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- Mills - Remedies Exam Question - Spring 2019
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Criminal Law - Free Essay Samples And Topic Ideas
Criminal Law pertains to the laws that relate to crime and regulate the actions and proceedings of individuals and entities charged with criminal offenses. Essays on criminal law could explore historical evolution, various components and classifications of criminal law, or notable criminal cases. Discussions could also include international criminal law and comparisons between different legal systems. A vast selection of complimentary essay illustrations pertaining to Criminal Law you can find at PapersOwl Website. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.
Criminal Law & Procedure
Abstract While the criminal justice system as a whole is important, the court system plays a large role after a complaint and lawful arrest. The process includes, but not limited to: arraignment, discovery, plea bargaining, trial, and sentencing. An arraignment is the defendant's first court appearance. An arraignment is also known as first appearance and a preliminary hearing (Hails, 2012, page 53). Discovery is where the prosecution and defense disclose all information that will be used for/against the defendant during […]
Criminal Law’s Impact Areas of Law Enf
Our criminal justice system is violating our values as a people. A nation that savors liberty now incarcerates more human beings than any other nation on the planet. Like in any other system, it always needs adjustments. We need to have a Criminal Justice System that is effective and that prosecutes individuals in a fair way to ensure that we as a society are able to maintain peace, order, and security. The outcome of a case I read about a […]
Mass Incarceration in America
When we think of America we recall a tale told of the land of the free. where justice and liberty reign supreme. The United States has a population just a shade higher than 300 million, a mere 4% of the world's population. However, we house 22% of the prisoners in the world. The prison system in America has some major flaws however we turn a blind eye towards it. How did a nation built on the ideals of freedom, ironically […]
History of Criminal Law in California
In searching criminal history, and how it all began I found some interesting websites and my textbook. So what is criminal law according to "Criminal Law Today by Schmalleger, PH. D pg. 3) criminal law means the body of rules and regulations that defines and specifies punishment for offenses of a public nature or for wrongs committed against the state of society. Also called the penal code. I will be talking abut the 5 areas of the history of criminal […]
Sentencing and Criminal Law
In this week’s readings we examine the theories of criminal law, sentencing and punishment cases. The life of the criminal law begins with criminalization. We are not invited to commit crimes—like murder, or driving uninsured—just as long as we willingly take the prescribed legal consequences. As far as the law is concerned, criminal conduct is to be avoided. Lawmakers must create sentencing schedules that assign each type of crime a particular sentence or range sentences. After conviction, convicts are sentenced […]
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New York City History : Abner Louima Case
This agreement established a new standard of compensation for victims of police violence. The agreement resolved an issue that had strained relations between the NYPD and the general public. Civil rights groups continue to accuse the NYPD of racial profiling. Americans and people worldwide have been calling for police reform for years, citing problems such as racial profiling, excessive force, and the murders of several innocent people. Every year, thousands of unarmed people are murdered by police officers via gunfire, […]
7 Principles of Substantive Criminal Law
The seven principles of law form the basis upon which authorities exercise their mandate in establishing if one is against the law. However, it is worth noting that the seven principles are not consistent all over the world since each nations law is shaped by her own traditions and values. It is imperative to understand that the law basically reflects the indigenous values and traditions of a nation. The main purpose for the development of this paper is to establish […]
Criminal Law Case Study: Crafting the Teen Night Club Law with Mayor Mitchell
Law is defined as a system of rules and regulations, created, debated, implemented and enforced through federal, state or local enforcement bodies. Note that, laws are enforced by government or social institutions to regulate and govern the behavior of its citizens. Federal, state and local governments operate by use of laws and regulations. Alternatively, laws refer to government or private systems for regulates and ensuring either communities or individuals adhere to the will of the federal, state or local government […]
Corruption of the Criminal Justice System
There is a long history report of police violence against civilians in the United States which has resulted in creating laws by the government so that citizens may find a way to find a possible solution when their rights are violated. Section 242 of the constitution allows police officers to be fined or even imprisoned for any law enforcer who deprives a person of their rights on the basis of their colour or race (Kevin). The corruption investigations done by […]
My Opinion about Criminal Law
Question 1 My personal opinion is that parent responsibility laws should be on a case by case basis. Parenting is by no means an unfettered right and, as with many rights, it carries significant responsibilities. I do think that some of these responsibilities should be legal. In some of the most heinous crimes, parents should be criminally liable for the acts of their children. While there is no clear consensus about the causes of juvenile delinquency, I do feel that […]
Sources of Criminal Law
Chapter One: Introduction A. In General - A crime is an act or omission prohibited by law for the protection of the public - Sources of criminal law come from: (i) English common law developed decisions of the English courts and became part of the common law (ii) Statutory codes- many jurisdictions have comprehensive criminal codes that define basic principles of liability, specific crimes and defenses (i) Model penal Code- developed by the American Law Institute code has served as […]
Is the Death Penalty “Humane”
What’s the first thing that pops up in your mind when you hear the words Capital Punishment? I’m assuming for most people the first thing that pops up is a criminal sitting on a chair, with all limbs tied down, and some type of mechanism connected to their head. Even though this really isn't the way that it is done, I do not blame people for imagining that type of image because that is how movies usually portray capital punishment. […]
Specific Penalties for Hacking in Criminal Law
Abstract Regardless of the way that hacking is a generally utilized term, it is yet not lawfully settled. In addition, the meaning of the idea of hacking has been sent in a wide assortment of routes in national writing. This equivocalness has prompted different symptoms. As of late in the United States, changes overall referred to as Aaron's Law were proposed as planned alterations to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Most specialists expect that this change will put […]
Racial Bias and Racial Injustice
According to Alexander, In the New Jim Crow, mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow. Jim Crow Laws were created to criminalize black individuals and other non-white groups. They were created in the 1900s. During this time period, African Americans were criminalized if they did not accommodate White individuals. For example, if a black individual was in the way of a white individual on the street, that black individual would get punished. Jim Crow Laws are linked to the mass […]
The People of the State of California V. Orenthal James Simpson
Trial Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson was born on July 9, 1947 in San Francisco, California and is a former NFL player, actor, and broadcaster. He is well known for his defence in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman. This trial is one of most popular trials in American History and is also one of the most controversial because of the verdict, or outcome. On the night of June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were […]
The Virtual Criminal Justice Alliance
The operational director for the visual security force Mr. James Dunbar has a very distinct job responsibility; some those responsibilities include dealing with prison reconstruction and decongesting those prison at large to minimize the high over population of those prison. Based on this, Mr. Dunbar has also partner with other entities to mitigate the risk of overcrowding of prison by advocating for other avenues such as private prisons and the community-based correction programs. This however, has enabled him to be […]
How the Media Portray Crime and the Criminal Justice System?
Crime has become one of the most consumed topics in America media. Since the U.S citizens greatly believe, rely, and get fooled on whichever the media spit out to them mostly with anything regarding crime, therefore, they do not take a moment to find, think, and analyze what they have heard, watched, or read from the media to compare with statistical facts. Rather, they digest any news that is being released from the media as true and credible. In fact, […]
The Solution to the Death Penalty
There has never been a time when the United States of America was free from criminals indulging in killing, stealing, exploiting people, and even selling illegal items. Naturally, America refuses to tolerate the crimes committed by those who view themselves as above the law. Once these convicts are apprehended, they are brought to justice. In the past, these criminals often faced an ultimate punishment: the death penalty. Mercy was a foreign concept due to their underdeveloped understanding of the value […]
My Opinion on the Capital Punishment
I believe the laws of the death penalty can go both ways as of why it should be loosened but retained for serial killers. I think the death penalty should be banned because it's not the best way to punish killers because it doesn’t reduce the crime rate. Not only does it not reduce crime rate but it also isn’t equal throughout the United States because only twenty states have abolished capital punishment. The death penalty cost the United States […]
Revisiting the Controversy: should Juveniles be Tried as Adults?
How much more does the juvenile delinquency rate has to rise before we realize action is required? The Juvenile Court System was created so young offenders could be dealt with individually and tried more effectively. The system can provide rehabilitation for any juvenile seen to be transgressing too much. Ideally, the youth are taking advantage of the system and committing violent crimes because they believe it will be easier for them to avoid a stricter sentence (Berg, 2020). Losing people […]
Dispute Resolution in Criminal Justice
In my class of Sociology of Criminal Justice, we are learning what happened socially in the United States to cause the criminal justice policy to change so dramatically into a punishment policy, where we deliver harsher punishment to individuals to incapacitate and deter them from committing punishment. The class also explores what the aspects are of this punishment policy and what the consequences have been for the past decades from this policy. One particular topic that has stuck with in […]
Presenting Juveniles as Adults in the Criminal Justice System
The word most frequently used to describe the growth in the rate of violent crime among children 17 years old and younger is epidemic. The alarming rate at which children are committing crimes has increased the amount of questions on what should be done with these juveniles. The National Center for Juvenile Justice states how “Every state but Hawaii now allows juveniles to be tried as adults for certain crimes,” so why are people struggling with laws allowing young offenders […]
The Debate of the Death Penalty
Capital punishment is a moral issue that is often scrutinized due to the taking of someone’s life. This is in large part because of the views many have toward the rule of law or an acceptance to the status quo. In order to get a true scope of the death penalty, it is best to address potential biases from a particular ethical viewpoint. By looking at it from several theories of punishment, selecting the most viable theory makes it a […]
Cost of the Death Penalty
The death penalty costs more than life in prison. According to Fox News correspondent Dan Springer, the State of California spent 4 billion dollars to execute 13 individuals, in addition to the net spend of an estimated $64,000 per prisoner every year. Springer (2011) documents how the death penalty convictions declined due to economic reasons. The state spends up to 3 times more when seeking a death penalty than when pursuing a life in prison without the possibility of parole. […]
The Problematics of Capital Punishment
Capital punishment is a universal problematic ideology under constant debate. Those that oppose the death penalty often agree that it is immoral for the government to take the life of an individual. They frequently state that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment, but our Constitution would never allow such punishments. It states in the eighth amendment, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” (Martin and Jackson) which protects […]
Redemption and Capital Punishment
In 2005, a man named Stanley Tookie Williams was sentenced to death by the State of California after being convicted of murdering four people. While waiting for his execution, Williams attempted to make amends by writing children’s books that warned about the dangers of gangs and violence. Because of these acts, many people believed that Williams’ sentence should be reduced to life in prison. The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, did not believe he truly regretted his actions, due to […]
The Inclusion of Capital Punishment through History
The inclusion of capital punishment as a penalty for criminal behavior has existed from the beginning of civilized society. The practice came to the United States with the first immigrants, was not excluded by the framers of the constitution, and continues to be a form of criminal punishment in thirty states, as well as the United States Government and Military. Despite its long history, capital punishment is controversial because of its extreme nature. As the American population has grown and […]
Education Requirements for a Career in Criminal Justice
Criminal justice has been considered as field for men for a long time; however, in recent times, the number of women working in the criminal justice system has gone up (UWP Online, 2018). Always looking for a challenge and having the passion to help others, has created my calling for having a degree in criminal justice. Having the experience to know inmates at a personal level and being educated about the prison, in a different light, has given me an […]
The Idea of Capital Punishment
While punishing crimes by death may seem outlandish to most, capital punishment, better known as the death penalty, is still legal in the majority of our states to this day. Surprisingly, studies show that the majority of citizens in the United States still support capital punishment. In my opinion, I believe that the death penalty should be abolished in all states for three reasons: the morals of using such an extreme punishment, the risk of an unfair judgement, and the […]
The Constitution of America and Laws
The constitution of America established fundamental laws and guaranteed certain rights for its citizens. It was written in 1787 that replaced the Articles Of Confederation which had been governing character of the United States. The law of the United States was predominantly gotten from the precedent based law arrangement of English Law. Nonetheless, U.S. law was drawn significantly from its English ancestors both as far as substance and method. It has fused various common law developments. It had proven a […]
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Criminal Law Practice Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Criminal Justice , Crime , Law , Social Issues , Attorney , Court , Defendant , Prosecutor
In researching the practice of criminal law, I interviewed a criminal defense attorney who after working in a law firm focused on criminal law started his own criminal defense firm. His firm currently just includes himself and a paralegal/legal secretary, however he hope to eventually invite other lawyers to join him. He has only worked in criminal law, and while he admits that it is challenging work he cannot see himself practicing any other type of law.
Every day, across the nation, thousands of people are arrested and detained by police or otherwise charged with a crime. For some, their cases are resolved or dismissed at the police station. For most, however, the arrest is just the beginning of a criminal justice process that may take years to resolve. The US Constitution guarantees the right of the accused to a fair trial and that they will be presumed innocent until they are found to be guilty. Criminal lawyers are the attorneys tasked with litigating criminal cases. A criminal law practice focuses on three areas of law: criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence law and professional responsibility. Criminal law defines what constitutes a crime, what needs to be proven in order to find someone guilty of committing a crime and, in the alternative, when a person’s acts are criminal but he nevertheless has not broken the law. Criminal law deals with such topics as For instance, criminal law not only outlines the elements of the crime of second-degree murder (the intentional killing of another that was not planned) but also when a murder is legal such as in the case of self-defense. Criminal procedure describes the rules and regulations that control criminal investigations, trials and appeals. Most of criminal procedure rules are derived from the Constitution such as the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against self-incrimination. During investigations, criminal procedure focuses mainly on police actions and whether or not they complied with the law. During trial and appeal, criminal procedure focuses on the actions of criminal attorneys, and to a lesser but equally important extent the actions of judges. Criminal procedure is also relevant after the resolution of a case. For example, the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment” is most often called into question after the defendant has been found guilty and is already in prison serving his sentence. Evidence law regulates what is proper evidence in a case, how it can be used in a case and the process by which it is obtained, retained and “entered into” against a defendant. Professional Responsibility are the regulatory controls over attorneys. In essence, professional responsibility informs an attorney of how he should act and work in order to keep his license. For instance, the law of professional responsibility tells a criminal attorney when he is prohibited from revealing any information related to the representation of a client without the client’s consent or the duty of an attorney to provide competent service. While professional responsibility is important to all attorneys no matter what they practice, it is especially important for criminal attorneys because the final result in a criminal case may mean that a person is imprisoned for a long duration or even put to death. Accordingly, more is expected from criminal attorneys in regards to their responsibilities to their clients, the courts and the law. In addition, criminal lawyers generally need to be proficient in a number of lawyering skills including legal research, litigation and trial advocacy, public speaking, and writing. These skills are important for the criminal lawyer because the primary focus of a criminal practice, where the case is ultimately resolved, is either in a hearing or a trial. To be effective in a hearing or trial, an attorney usually needs to persuade a judge or jury either orally or in writing. Preparation for a hearing or trial requires an attorney to gather, organize and analyze disparate information, draft legal memos, and develop a strategy to succeed. Furthermore, criminal practice is a “people-oriented” practice that often involves communication with diverse range of people on multiple levels. Accordingly, criminal lawyers need to be able to speak, write, argue, interview and negotiate in a variety of ways. Lawyering skills give attorneys the tools they need to accomplish these duties effectively. There are two types of criminal lawyers: prosecutors and defense attorneys. Prosecutors, who are also known as district or city attorneys, represent the government, and by implication the victim. The majority of prosecutors work at the local level for the county or city government. This is because most criminal activity happens at the local level. There are federal prosecutors, known as United States Attorneys, who work for the US Department of Justice. They have national jurisdiction over any federal crimes, international crimes or crimes that cross state borders such as drug trafficking. As the name suggests, prosecutors prosecute criminal cases. A criminal case generally begins with an arrest and so a prosecutor’s first contact with a case generally occurs after the police have finished their own investigations or made an arrest. Once a case is brought to a prosecutor, there initial task is to determine if there is enough evidence to charge the defendant or otherwise prove that the defendant is guilty. If there is not enough evidence the prosecutor can decide not to pursue the case any further. Alternatively, the prosecutor may request that police obtain more information or find more witnesses. If there is enough evidence tending to prove a criminality, the prosecutor will next determine the appropriate charge and penalty and file a formal criminal complaint against the defendant in a criminal court. Less common but equally important, a prosecutor can be involved in a case before arrest. In these instances, the prosecutor will work with or direct police to obtain enough evidence that a crime occurred or is about to occur to justify: an arrest, a criminal charge or evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Between the filing of a formal complaint and trial, the major duty of the prosecutor is in plea negotiations, more commonly known as plea bargaining. In plea bargaining, the prosecutor makes a determination of what crime and level of punishment a defendant could agree to rather than go to trial. This requires the defendant to admit that they are guilty but generally to a lesser crime than was originally charged. If the defendant declines the offer, the case usually goes to trial where the role of the prosecutor is to convince the judge or jury of the defendant’s guilty by introducing evidence that proves his actions. If the defendant is convicted, the prosecutor also plays a role in recommending the appropriate sentence. Defense attorneys represent persons accused of crimes, commonly known as defendants prior to a finding of guilt or convicts if they are found guilty. The duties and responsibilities of defense attorneys is to “zealously” defend their clients by asserting their rights, exploring all possible defense or explanations to the charges the defendant has been charged with. In carrying out his duties, a defense attorney is allowed to question police and any witnesses for the prosecution, perform their own investigation, and provide their own experts and witnesses. A criminal defense attorney generally comes into a case once a formal complaint is charged against the defendant. When the defendant makes his first appearance in court, which is required to be held within a certain time, the court will ask the defendant if he has an attorney, wants an attorney and if he can afford an attorney. If he wants one but can’t afford one, the court will assign an attorney to represent him. Once assigned to a case, criminal defense attorneys have a variety of responsibilities including meeting with the defendant, investigating the case by interviewing police and witness both for and against the defense; researching the law relevant to the case and participating in plea bargaining with the prosecutor. If a case cannot be resolved before trial, the defense attorneys represents the defendant at trial with the goal of either proving to a judge or jury his innocence or showing that the prosecutor has failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Defense attorneys can be separated into public and private defense attorneys. Public defense attorneys, more commonly known as public defenders, are either as government employees or as private attorneys that contract to perform services for the government. For example, the Federal Public Defender is the US government’s criminal defense firm. Its attorneys are government employees, just like a prosecutor, with the exception that they represent defendants. Alternatively, Washington, D.C.’s Public Defender Service is a private criminal defense firm that the city of hired to perform its criminal defense responsibilities. Its employees are not city employees but rather private attorneys. Prior to 1963, there were almost no public defenders. During those times if a person was charged with a crime, his options included hiring a private attorney, seeking a private attorney to voluntarily work on his case or represent himself. However, in the 1963 landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court held that every person accused of a crime that might result in imprisonment had a right to an attorney, and if they could not afford an attorney, the government was required to provide one free of charge. This illustrates the biggest difference between a private and public defense attorney. Public defense attorneys are paid by the state rather than the defendant. As a consequence, public defense attorneys have limited choice in who they represent but rather must represent whoever they are assigned to. The majority of criminal defendants are indigent; accordingly, the majority of criminal defense attorneys are public defenders. Private defense attorneys are independently hired by the defendant to represent them. This includes all costs associated with the case. Private attorneys have the ability and right to choose who they represent or whether or not they will continue representation if, for instance, the defendant fails to pay. Since private defense attorneys have to power to determine their own caseloads, they tend to have smaller caseloads than public defenders and therefore have more time to dedicate to an individual case. Private attorneys also tend to demand higher fees from clients for representation. Beside these distinctions, there is little that is different between public and private defense attorneys. To be sure, they generally have the same qualifications, legal education, skills, experience and dedication. Criminal attorneys spend the majority of their work day in court and, in the case of defense attorneys, at the jail. At court, criminal attorneys frequently contact judges, court staff, clients and each other. In addition to judges, court staff and defense attorneys; prosecutor spend a large portion of their work time with police, going over a case, interviewing witnesses or assisting police officers carry out an investigation. Alternatively, for defense attorneys, the majority of their time outside of court is spent with their clients, investigators, police and jail staff. An investigator assists a criminal defense attorney in the same way a police officer assists a prosecutor. In short, they provide information, such as from interviewing a witness; obtain and analyze evidence either supplied by the government or found independently or provide in court testimony of their activity investigating a case. Criminal law is a broad area of practice and touches on any area of human activity. The most common areas of criminal practice include misdemeanor, felony, juvenile, death penalty and appellate practice. Misdemeanor cases refer to minor crimes that have a maximum punishment of a year in jail. Common misdemeanor crimes include drinking under the influence (DUI), driving without a license and theft of property with a minor value. Felonies refer to the most serious crimes with a minimum penalty of at least a year in prison. Juvenile crimes, or “juvie” as it is commonly known, deals with those criminal cases involving minors. Appellate practice refers to cases resolved at the trial level but reviewed by a higher court to determine whether the results of the original case were legally correct. In recent years, white-collar crime, computer or cybercrime, transnational crimes are some of the fastest growing areas of criminal practice. White-collar crime, as opposed to common street crime, refers to non-violent crimes of a fraudulent nature focused on achieving a financial gain. Commonly encountered white-collar crime includes money laundering, corporate fraud and embezzlement. Since 2008, the increased number of instances where businesses have been found to be acting illegally has made the prosecution (and defense) of white-collar crime a major part of the criminal justice system (McClure and Eimermann). Computer crime refers to any criminal activity that either targets a computer, uses a computer to facilitate a crime or where a computer is incident to the criminal act. Some common examples of computer crime include hacking, software piracy and credit card fraud. As work, study, entertainment and communications increasingly go online; criminals have also moved into cyberspace targeting computers and computer users that are not secure or taking advantage of gaps in the law which facilitates the commission of computer crimes. In response, the government has focused an increased amount of resources to fighting computer crime. Accordingly, there is more work in the area for both prosecutors and defense attorneys. Transnational crime refers to crimes that are initiated in one country but affect another country. One of the clearest examples of transnational crime is terrorism. Since 2001, the prosecution of terrorist cases has been one of the major goals of the Department of Justice and the US criminal justice system (Kris). I interviewed criminal defense attorney Dillon Aubrey to complete this section of the assignment. The interview occurred on January 22, 2015 at 11:30 am at Mr. Aubrey’s office which is near to the courthouse. The interview lasted for approximately one hour and a half. Mr. Aubrey can be contacted at via his e-mail address: The interview covered a variety of topics connected to the practice of criminal law generally, and criminal defense practice in particular. Mr. Aubrey has been working as a criminal defense attorney for nearly a decade of experience. It was the first and only job he had when he graduated law school. He was interested in criminal law early in law school, mainly as a result of the criminal law classes took and criminal professors that taught him. To be sure, while in law school he focused heavily in preparing for a career in criminal law not only through his course work but also in extra-curricular activities. He volunteered at the courthouse during his first year which gave him first-hand experience in the courtroom. Additionally, during his final year he interned at the office of a local criminal defense attorney. After graduating law school, the local criminal attorney that he interned with, hired him as an associate. After working for three years in misdemeanor court, he started working in felonies. After five years as a felony attorney he began his own solo practice. According to Mr. Aubrey, his normal day begins around 7:30 am when he arrives at the office. He first checks his e-mail and reviews any voice messages recorded over night before reviewing any cases he has for the morning. Around 8:00 am, Mr. Aubrey will head to the courthouse which is about a 10 minute walk from his office. Court hearings generally start at 8:45 am so between the time he arrives at the courthouse and the start of court, he will meet with clients or perhaps talk with a prosecutor about a case. From 8:45 am to around noon, the majority of his time will be spent in court hearings. If there is no other hearings or meetings he will head back to the office for lunch. However, oftentimes he will spend part of his lunch hour at the jail talking and meeting with clients that are currently in detention. At around 1:30 pm, he will head back to court for any afternoon hearings or meetings with prosecutors, clients, judges or court staff. Around 5:00 pm when he will head back to the office to answer e-mails and phone messages, meet with clients, complete paperwork and review his schedule for the next day. On most days he gets off work around 6:00 pm. In his decade of experience, he has represented hundreds of defendants in state and local courts covering a range of charges from failure to pay child support to assault with a deadly weapon. He describes his work as given him an acute understanding of the “few joys and many sorrows” that are “part and parcel” of representing the accused. But his experiences have also been important in helping me understand how other criminal attorneys work and think and the criminal justice process works. This is necessary knowledge in helping him to effectively navigate the process of defending an accused. Criminal law, on either side of the case, is not easy but it is thoroughly exciting, necessary, worthwhile and rewarding. As he sees it, speaking up for those without a voice is the reason he goes to work every day. According to Mr. Aubrey, an effective criminal attorney needs to be passionate about criminal law, thick-skinned to handle the inevitable challenges that you will encounter. Moreover, for criminal defense work, it’s always helpful if you like to question authority because that is what you’ll be doing most of the time. Finally, you need to pay attention to detail as no two cases are alike, and success is often achieved by finding “the helpful needle in the haystack of chaos.” Most recently, Mr. Aubrey had the opportunity to put my criminal defense skills to work in China as a short-term consultant focusing on providing legal technical assistance and support to criminal defense attorneys based in rural China. While he described his work in China as giving him the opportunity to better understand the American system through encountering basic differences in criminal terminology, processes and perceptions between the two jurisdictions; he was surprised by how much, especially the passion for the job, that is the same in criminal defense attorneys here and over there. After researching the area and conducting the interview, I am surer now that I want to work in this legal area. While I am not yet sure of which side (prosecution or defense) I want to focus on, although from my research it seems that many criminal lawyers switch sides at least once during their careers. I think Mr. Aubrey’s description of his work; that it is “exciting, necessary, worthwhile and rewarding” best describes why I’m interested in this legal area.
Kaci, Judy H. Criminal Procedure. Incline Village: Copperhouse, 1998. Print. Kris, David S. “Law Enforcement as a Counterterrorism Tool.” Journal of National Security Policy and Law, 26 Jun. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2015. McClure, Thomas E., and Thomas E. Eimermann. Fundamentals of Criminal Practice: Law and Procedure. New York: Aspen, 2011. Print.
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Eastman’s ‘Flawed’ First Amendment Arguments Futile, Lawyers Say
By Joyce E. Cutler
John Eastman, adviser to Donald Trump on how to interrupt presidential election ballot counting, will find out this spring whether he can continue to practice law, while attorneys interviewed by Bloomberg Law forecast his disbarment.
After 33 days of trial in the California State Bar Court, the nation’s only court devoted entirely to lawyer discipline, what remains is a Nov. 8 hearing to review some of the more than 800 exhibits submitted and post-trial briefing due by Nov. 22 to Judge Yvette Roland . The parties waived oral argument.
Eastman’s case presents questions on First Amendment issues that may go ...
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Trump’s lawyers in the case have different approaches to representing the former president.
By Maggie Haberman
- Nov. 6, 2023
Christopher M. Kise and Alina Habba, the two lawyers who joined Donald J. Trump at the defense table before he testified Monday at his civil fraud trial in New York, represent different aspects of what the former president looks for in a defender.
Mr. Kise, a prominent attorney in Florida who was the second solicitor general in the state in the early 2000s, takes a more traditional approach, preferring to let court arguments and legal filings speak for themselves.
He took a place on the former president’s sprawling legal defense team around the time a Justice Department investigation into Mr. Trump’s post-White House handling of government documents was entering a newly aggressive phase.
Ms. Habba, by contrast, speaks often and publicly about the various cases against Mr. Trump — including the four criminal indictments he’s facing, at the state and federal levels — as emblematic of “corruption” in the country.
During the lunch break on Monday, she took aim at the judge in the case, Arthur F. Engoron, for scolding Mr. Trump for his meandering answers.
“The only thing they want are facts that are bad for Trump,” she said outside the courthouse . “That’s why he’s silencing him.”
Ms. Habba arrived on Mr. Trump’s team through one of his preferred methods of finding lawyers: either seeing them on television or meeting them through an existing business connection he has. People close to Mr. Trump have said that Ms. Habba was introduced to him at his golf club at Bedminster, N.J.
The office of her eponymous law firm, Habba Madaio and Associates, is just a couple of miles away.
Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent and the author of “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on President Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. More about Maggie Haberman
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Lyrics to be introduced as evidence in trial of rapper Young Thug
Judge says he isn’t attacking free speech, but practice of using lyrics as evidence has been widely denounced by major record labels and stars including Jay-Z
A judge has said lyrics will be admissible as evidence in the trial of star US rapper Young Thug, a controversial practice that has been decried by free speech groups and other stars such as Jay-Z and Coldplay.
Known for his distinctive vocal timbre, Young Thug, real name Jeffery Williams, is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed rappers in the US, whose albums So Much Fun and Punk both topped the charts there. He will shortly go on trial in his home city of Atlanta for racketeering, accused of running what prosecutors call “a criminal street gang” called YSL (Young Slime Life, also Young Stoner Life), members of which have been charged with murder, carjackings and other alleged crimes. Williams’s legal team maintain YSL is a record label and music collective, with lawyer Brian Steel saying the rapper has “committed no violation of law whatsoever”.
Twenty-eight people were initially charged, including another chart-topping rapper, Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens), who took a plea deal that allowed him to maintain his innocence. Other defendants took plea deals, were not arrested, or saw their cases separated from the racketeering case, leaving Williams and five others still to face trial.
The judge for the case, Ural Glanville, has now permitted prosecutors to introduce some Young Thug song lyrics as evidence, saying: “I’m going to conditionally admit particularised lyrics.”
Addressing Williams’s legal team during the hearing, Glanville argued prosecutors were “not prosecuting your clients because of the songs they wrote. They’re using the songs to prove other things your clients may have been involved in … I don’t think it’s an attack on free speech.”
As reported by Fox 5 Atlanta , prosecutor Mike Carlson said: “The lyrics are being used to prove the nature of YSL as a racketeering enterprise, the expectations of YSL as a criminal street gang. We’ve got party admissions for even the offence of murder here; this is evidentiary use.”
Prosecutor Simone Hylton quoted lyrics in court: “‘I just beat a murder rap, I paid my lawyer 30 for that.’ There’s a few other lyrics in between that and then: ‘Me and my slimes are above the law.’”
Lawyers for the defence countered that lyrics were creative expression, and could not be used as evidence or admissions of criminality. “There’s a giant elephant in the room, which is that we’re ignoring art,” said Doug Weinstein, attorney for Deamonte Kendrick, the rapper known as Yak Gotti, who is on trial alongside Williams. “There is art here and the art has got to be separated from real life … What Mr Kendrick is singing about is what he grew up around. What else is he supposed to sing about? He’s not going to sing [the Monkees’] Daydream Believer. He’s not going to write about puppies and rainbows and unicorns.”
There is growing opposition to the practice of introducing lyrics as criminal evidence, which have been used in the trials against US rappers such as Tekashi 6ix9ine and Tay-K in recent years. The practice is increasingly widespread in the UK, with research published by the Guardian finding 240 such cases in the last three years.
In January 2022, Jay-Z and Meek Mill were among those supporting a proposed change in New York state law that would prevent the introduction of lyrics as evidence, with state senator Jamaal Bailey arguing: “The right to free speech is enshrined in our federal and state constitutions. The admission of art as criminal evidence only serves to erode this fundamental right, and the use of rap and hip-hop lyrics in particular is emblematic of the systemic racism that permeates our criminal justice system.”
Similar legislation has been proposed in Georgia , Atlanta’s state, with US congressman Hank Johnson saying: “You should not be able to just simply put in some lyrics and say this is the state of mind of the person who is accused.”
In September 2022, California outlawed the use of lyrics as evidence in state trials. Harvey Mason Jr, chief executive of the Recording Academy, which runs the Grammy awards, called it “an important victory … Silencing any genre or form of artistic expression is a violation against all music people.”
In an address to fans from jail after he was denied bail multiple times, Williams encouraged fans to sign a petition titled Protect Black Art, saying: “I always use my music as a form of artistic expression, and I see now that Black artists and rappers don’t have that freedom”. Kitchens stated on release from jail: “My art is not allowed to stand alone as entertainment, I’m not allowed that freedom as a Black man in America.”
In November 2022 the three major labels, streaming and social media companies, and a large number of artists including Megan Thee Stallion, Coldplay, Future and Post Malone, all backed the Protect Black Art movement with an open letter . It argued the use of lyrics in trials is “un-American and simply wrong”, adding: “Rappers are storytellers, creating entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain. But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalise Black creativity and artistry.”
After a jury selection process that has taken over 10 months, Williams’s trial will begin on 27 November and is expected to last six to nine months according to Glanville.
The rapper has released an album while in jail, Business Is Business, which reached No 2 in the US charts after its release in June.