Some kids play football in high school. Some play basketball. Some participate in cheerleading or dance. Then, there are those of us who were proud to call ourselves “mock trial nerds.” At my high school, we practiced more than the sports teams. We had a “Varsity” and a “JV.” We competed in scrimmages against other teams, and we had coaches. We won our regional tournament every year, and we advanced to State. Our school held a pep rally for us every year before State. Our parents came to watch (or in my case, coach) our team. We dealt with high school drama during the year, had our highs and lows, but we worked incredibly hard, pulled ourselves together, and always walked into the courtroom a united front. While not around when I was in school, today there are actually numerous mock trial summer camps throughout the country. I’ve even heard rumors of mock trial scholarships to college.
Much of my life has involved mock trial. Continue reading “Remember That Time Our State Was Selected to Host Nationals . . . .”
A group of friends and I email each other links to news articles on a regular basis. Sometimes the articles are about interesting, funny, or odd developments. The articles that come to mind recently include the Georgetown law student convicted of running a methamphetamine ring; cat-hoarding; rabid beaver attacks; or this article on therapy llamas. (We have a fun group.) Occasionally we have in-depth back-and-forth discussions about more serious legal topics. By now, two years removed from law school, we have moved to different cities and states and we all practice in different areas of law, which tends to give us very different perspectives on the various topics that pop up.
This week, we’ve had a lively debate about Paula Cooper , the Indiana woman released Monday after having been sentenced to die for a crime she committed at fifteen. The news stories report that she stabbed a 78-year-old woman 33 times with a butcher knife, and was the youngest person in the country sentenced to the death penalty. For reasons that would take up an entirely separate blog article, since she was sentenced in 1986, it has now been deemed unconstitutional to sentence a child to the death penalty. Cooper’s sentence was amended to 60 years, and she was released on Monday after having served more than a quarter of a century behind bars. She will serve time on parole.
The question posed to the group was: would you let this woman out? Continue reading “Don’t Convicted Felons Deserve Second Chances, Too?”
As a new lawyer, I struggled to come up with blog topics. Being only two years out of law school, I don’t pretend to have near the amount of knowledge or experience as the frequent contributors and readers of this blog. I contemplated a post about the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely, but Dean O’Hear would cover that topic in a much more eloquent and researched fashion. I then contemplated a post about the privacy implications regarding the recent news on the NSA collecting phone records (or even more recently—the criminal defendants demanding the records as exculpatory evidence). However, as a past student of Professor Boyden’s Law of Privacy class, I’m inclined to believe his post on that issue would make a much more interesting read. I finally decided on a topic that has monopolized my attention this Spring and Summer: jury trials. While a post on jury trials authored by Professor Blinka would likely be deemed so sage as to be cited by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I’ll tackle the area from what I’ve learned as a new lawyer. Continue reading “The Value of Trial Experience to a Young Lawyer”