Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ted Stevens trial

Okay, so this isn't a SDFLA trial, but I have to come to my old boss' (not Stevens, but his lawyer) defense. The cold may have gotten to Rumpole's head on this one as he says that Brendan Sullivan, one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the nation who heads Williams & Connolly, gave a "histrionic closing argument." (Rumple does not point to any part of the closing argument to support that position.)

Sullivan is unbelievable: smart, creative, and cunning. (And Rumpole, I'm sure the bill was more than a million bucks.) The jury was out quite a while and had a tough time convicting. From the newspaper reports, this looked like an impossible case...

In other news, one reader reports that a juror in our District yelled at a criminal defense lawyer yesterday to stop shaking the podium because it was aggravating her. Not a good sign...

Anything else going on? Talk to me people.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Steven's trial from the news accounts appears to have been an abomination. The prosecutor hid Brady material (nothing new to us in the SD Fla.), placed into evidence documents that she knew were falsified and involved a juror being removed who apparently was the holdout (albeit for supposedly different reasons). DOJ lawyers should be hanging their heads in shame at this type of behavior from the "public integrity" section.

If the Judge has any sense of right, he will toss the verdict and tell everybody to start over.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the jury was looking through dirty windows. What a shame for Sen. Stevens and his family.

Anonymous said...

What other window could they look at this through? The windows in Washington and Alaska are manufactured dirty. Even Edward Bennett Williams would see dirty things through them.

Commodore said...

I agree with all three of the above-but...

Shouldn't the integrity of the process be as important as the integrity of the senator. How can the public have any confidence in our justice system when the prosecution performs its duties in a flawed manner? Reaching the right result is not the answer - the path counts just as much.

South Florida Lawyers said...

The process is indeed as important as the results. Sounds like there are ample grounds for appeal here.

Rumpole said...

First of all, how do you know I wasn't there?

From the NY Times Article on the closing:

Mr. Stevens’s chief defense lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, responded that the government had offered “a very twisted interpretation of the evidence” to prosecute a prominent lawmaker who had served in the Senate honorably for 40 years.

Mr. Sullivan said that if the evidence was seen “through a filthy, dirty glass, then the whole world seems dirty.”

Mr. Sullivan, whose style is renowned enough to have filled the courtroom with fellow lawyers to witness his performance, proved much the showman. As he railed against the government, he paced the courtroom, bent over to embrace the lectern, put both hands to the side of his head as if the charges were too painful to bear and waved his arms incessantly.


Rumpole says: I would call "waving your arms incessantly" along with putting your hands on your head, as "histrionics. And I don't think that works. It's hollywood.

And I would have done the case for half a million and the result could only have gotten better.

I've dealt with these DC lawyers, and I wouldn't give you a plugged nickel for any of them in trial after Edward Bennett Williams left us for the great courtroom in the sky.

All show for lots of dough, but when in trial, no go.

Rumpole said...

BTW-who came up with the "lets blame the wife" strategy? Yeah, that plays well. An accused dishonest politician throwing his wife under the bus (and in closing argument the AUSA made some strong points about Stevens tossing his wife under the bus).

Oh- and lets put the most well known cranky and cantankerous senator on the witness stand. Brilliant. That played well. Not. He was NOT well prepped for cross and did horribly.

I do not doubt Mr. Sullivan's reputation for fairness and integrity, but he did not perform up to standards here.

fake fred moreno said...

MEEEEEEEESSSSSSSTER MARKUS. No news is good news. Don't be stirring up the pot in my District. There's a reason why my Judges don't fight over fax machines. Lets keep it that way.

David Oscar Markus said...

It's always easy to criticize the losing lawyer Rumpole. But as Edward Bennett Williams used to say: 30% of the cases couldn't be won by any lawyer; 30% of the cases couldn't be lost by any lawyer; it's the middle 40% where lawyering makes a difference. This case probably couldn't have been won by any lawyer, not even the great Rumpole. By all accounts, the prosecution acted unethically and there are a number of strong issues for appeal. To say Sullivan, and other DC lawyers, aren't worth a nickel is perhaps a bit of a stretch. Sullivan, Mike Tiger, and a host of other great trial lawyers learned from Williams, probably the greatest trial lawyer of the last century.

Anonymous said...

I think the number should be 5%.

Rumpole said...

I MUST STRONGLY DISAGREE, I AM CERTAIN I HAVE LOST CASES NO OITHER LAWYER COULD HAVE.

The discovery issues sound serious and I have no doubt the DC Circuit will find some way around it.

What I take issue with and what drives me nuts, is this hollywood stereotype of the brilliant criminal defense lawyer storming around the courtroom bravely yelling that the government stinks while waving his arms.

It's a sure fire way to lose a case. The last lawyer I saw do it and win - and I was there for the closing- was Bruce Cutler in Gotti's case-and that jury was fixed.

Now I am sure Mr. Sullivan is a very good lawyer. I just got upset at the reporting of his closing, as if only great lawyers can yell and wave their arms.

To brag a little- I have had judges and jurors tell me my closing persuaded them, and I am a great believer in talking to people straightforward. Sometimes I pull up a chair so I am at their eye level. And simply, clearly, rationally explain why my client is innocent.

Yelling is a show. To paraphrase the great Gerry Spence- I will beat the pants off of any lawyer who thinks yelling and storming around in opening and closing argument is the way to win a case. It is not.

Cross is a different story by the way.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted to note that I now have pending a state lawsuit that is going to afford me the opportunity, via a subpoena to Google, to find out who Rumpole is. Rumpole allowed Barnaby Min, now with the Miami City Attorney, to screw him up.

And I shall be delighted to share with everyone just who this anonymous coward Rumpole is. At his deposition we shall try to get him to admit that he indeed still doesn't know when Ronald Reagan ran for President.

Jack Thompson, Once and Future Lawyer

Anonymous said...

rumpole is a state hack never was, bitter and sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

DC lawyers are a joke. All hat, no cattle.