Sunday, September 17, 2006

second round trial team tryout was yesterday. i don't think i actually wrote in here about how my first round went last week...ten people made the team outright. i was not one of them. originally there were six people called back to try out for the last two spots on the team...i was one of those six. that was altered on wednesday to make it eight people trying out for the two spots.

it was the same case as before, but i had to do an opening, a direct, and a cross. i got switched up--i closed for defense in my first round tryout, but my second round tryout i was assigned prosecution. that was a little interesting, because this problem is extremely bad--and the prosecution doesn't so much have "a case." if it were civil liability, the victim's family would have a prayer, since they may meet a preponderance burden...but, given the information, there is just no way to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. it was also crazy doing prosecution just because it was a criminal case...the sun rises in the east, it sets in the west, and i think like a defense lawyer.

as for my actual tryout, i think it went as well as it could have. (then again, i thought my first round went as well as it could have, and clearly it was a personal disappointment.) i didn't blank out in the middle of my opening, and i tried to only make real hand gestures, as opposed to half-gesture half-spasm things that i got in the habit of doing when i practiced. a piece of evidence that i really, really wanted to get in was kept out, so hopefully they saw how well i adapted to it--since i knew there was a good shot of that.

crazily enough, the one thing that i wanted in but thought was even more blatantly inadmissible wasn't even objected to. that made me really, really sad...because i was bracing for a hearsay objection on a police photo lineup identification, and i had this fantabulous argument ready to go: on 807 grounds. i'd never seen the residual exception argued, since we didn't have it in college mock and there wasn't anything that crazy in the law school case last year, but there was absolutely no exception that encompassed the lineup other than the residual. but...i asked about the lineup, my witness talked about it, and opposing counsel did not object. it was great for my case that it got would have been fantastic if i had to do a closing. but, i didn't.

speaking of objections, objections are really, really fun. there was one point in my tryout yesterday that was especially fun. i directed the police officer who investigated the case...the case is a kidnapping and murder case, where a neighbour is accused of kidnapping and killing a teenage girl on his street. the cop has some stuff in her deposition about the child's mother being shot to death three weeks after the girl died, and that she suspects the father did it. that is completely irrelevant to a case involving the neighbour and the girl, especially since there was no evidence that this neighbour had any connection to the parents. but, the defense attorney kept trying to get in stuff about the mother's suspicious death. he alluded to it in a question once about midway through the cross...i objected to it, argued, and kept it out. then, as he was wrapping up, his last point was something about the wife's death. he asked a question about it...i objected to relevance and it got sustained. he asked the same question, worded the same way...i objected to relevance and it got sustained. finally, he altered the wording, but it was still the same question on the same point...i objected to relevance. the judge looked at him and went "sustained. this means you need to ask about something else, because that's not going to get in."

it took all i had at that point to avoid grinning in the biggest, cheesiest manner possible. that was a thrill.

getting ready for this tryout, i did learn one thing that i didn't expect. when i was was easy enough to work on my opening and my cross exam whenever i wanted. i could say my opening when i was alone, or run through it under my breath when i was riding the bus or the airplane. the same with my cross...since i knew everything the witness was going to say. but, beyond knowing the general sequence of direct exam points, there was no way i could practice my direct without the witness there. as a witness, i could mentally practice my direct whenever i wanted. i knew the order of points, and i could frame in my head what i wanted to say. but, as the lawyer on direct, what i ask is intimately dependent on what the witness says in each of her answers. that's something i didn't fully appreciate until now, the first time i've ever done a direct examination as an attorney.

how did it actually go, according to the judges? did i make the team? stay tuned...because i sure don't know yet. i haven't gotten a call or an email either way, and don't know anyone who has.

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