Justice is blind…

Looking for…justice






Lady Justice is the symbol and personification of justice. Lady Justice is based on Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice.  The personification of justice balancing the scales of truth and fairness dates back to the Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt.  Ancient Rome adopted the image of a female goddess of justice, which it called Justitia. Since Roman times, Justitia has frequently been depicted carrying scales and a sword, and wearing a blindfold. (from Wikipedia)









(from Google images)

Her modern iconography frequently adorns courthouses and courtrooms, and conflates the attributes of several goddesses who embodied Right Rule for Greeks and Romans, blending Roman blindfolded Fortuna (fate) with Hellenistic Greek Tyche (luck), and sword-carrying Nemesis (vengeance).

Justitia is most often depicted with a set of scales typically suspended from her right hand, upon which she measures the strengths of a case’s support and opposition. She is also often seen carrying a double-edged sword in her left hand, symbolizing the power of Reason and Justice, which may be wielded either for or against any party.






(Bailey making herself blind with plastic flower pot on her head)

Since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness; blind justice and impartiality.


Taking on the big guns…

Taking a breath before taking on the feds this week…






Sort of like David and Goliath….







(taken from Google images)

well, maybe not quite like David and Goliath. More like a wrestling match against a bigger opponent…








(taken from google images)

Hmmm. We’re getting there…All I’m saying is that this will not be an easy task.

Better go to aikilaw

“Even the most powerful human being has a limited sphere of strength. Draw him outside of that sphere and into your own, and his strength will dissipate.”– Morihei Ueshiba “The Art of Peace”






Lookin’ good…

Let the games begin…

I sometimes tell people that being a trial lawyer is like being an athlete. There is the contest (the trial), the arena (courtroom), the two sides (lawyers) fighting it out, the referee (judge), the spectators (media), and usually the best prepared team wins.  And, as with all such endeavors, having the right mindset is critical.

“The mind is incredible. Once you’ve gained mastery over it, channeling its powers positively for your purposes, you can do anything. I mean anything. The secret is to make your mind work for you.”—not against you. This means constantly being positive. Constantly setting up challenges you can meet—either today, next week, or next month. “I can’t…” should be permanently stricken from your vocabulary, especially the vocabulary of your thoughts. You must see yourself always growing and improving.”
– Arnold The Education of a Bodybuilder






So, let the games begin…


Relevance – thinking inside the box…

“Now the navel is naturally the exact center of the body. For if man lies on his back with hands and feet outspread, and the center of a circle is placed on his navel, his fingers and toes will be touched by the circumference. Also a square will be found described within the figure…
if we measure from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, and apply the measure to the outstretched hands, the breadth will be found equal to the height….”
– Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, De Architectura, 1st century AD

Three big trials coming up so it’s probably wise to finalize the list of the seven trial techniques. (#7)  Relevance and the Rules of Evidence.









(Leonardo da Vinci figured it out)

Prevailing in court requires a good understanding of the rules of evidence because these rules determine what evidence the jury will be able to hear/see/consider at trial.

Perhaps the most important concept here is that of “Relevance” – generally the evidence that helps to show or explain an important issue is relevant and is, therefore, allowed.  Evidence that doesn’t, well…it’s kept out. Thinking of a circle helps. Evidence inside the circle is relevant, evidence outside is not. 

So, it’s really about “thinking inside the circle.”  

Knowing the real issue and its boundaries – by understanding time and distance – is the name of the game.






(Bailey, the pup, checking out new boundaries…)

So, here you go, the seven things you need to know:   Knowing the facts (facts), Structuring the case for trial (strategy), preparing and using witnesses (others), leading questions (assertiveness), speaking to the jury (communication), due process and the system (rules), relevance (time and distance)

The rules of the road…

“It’s hard to teach what I’ve been talking about … because the first thing you need to know is the last thing you’ll learn. But I can tell you this: when you get to square ten, all of square one will be in it.”     – Ray Hunt, Horse Whisperer

Today I was in three counties for three different cases, so quite a bit of driving. Always vigiIant for the lurking state trooper, I was thinking of the rules of the road.  It reminds me of another basic rule of trial practice:  (#6)  Rules of Procedure (Due process and the system).  These are the rules that dictate how the lawyer goes about putting the case together for court and how things proceed once it is in court.






This, of course, makes sense if you think about it. You’ve got to know the rules of whatever game you are playing…or you’re out of court!

Fiction and nonfiction

My cases cover everything from shoplifting to capital murder. In my work in the criminal justice system I have seen that the reality of what some people do is often stranger than anything you could make up.  I have been lucky enough to have met and to have worked with many fine, hard working, creative folks, both colleagues and clients. But there is the dark side, too.

Practicing in this area of the law can be frustrating at times and often involves tragedy of some sort. I sometimes say to a jury that the only thing worse than being the victim of a crime is to be falsely accused or wrongfully convicted of a crime. In many ways, the jury trial is the ultimate modern day contest – short of actual combat.     

In any event, over the years in court I have tasted both “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  The words of  good ol’ Winston Churchill come to mind, and can be comforting – at least for the lawyer!

Success is not final;

Failure is not fatal;

It is the courage to continue that counts.

The goal of the system is to obtain justice. Unfortunately, that is not always the actual result.  Personally, I have discovered a new appreciation of art as a way to help deal with the emotional highs and lows of criminal law practice.  

Last year I wrote a piece of fiction – a short novel called Ryder– it involves a family that gets caught up in the criminal justice system amid charges of art fraud, a trial, and…well, I’ll let you see.  I made a little video or you can check it out by clicking on:   Ryder.html

Here’s the video: