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Libby Trial: Some Instructive Thoughts

***It's taking a little while for the video to go live for some reason.  Apologies for the delay, gang.  Your evening court video will be up and running as soon as we can make it so.  Thank you for your patience.  — CHS*** 

Sure, you were expecting a sassy Jane post, perhaps some scinillating snark, with a wee bit of snide tossed into the mix.  Instead, you are stuck with me…because Jane's on the road this evening. 

Earlier today, I put together a post detailing some information on jury instructions.  But there were a few items that I forgot to mention that our fantastic commenters helpfully added.  Wanted to be sure everyone saw these.

From Kenneth Fair:

One further point about jury instructions that you didn’t mention: Well-crafted jury instructions help to set up issues for appeal. One way is by submitting instructions that are correct but the judge rejects, so that you can argue to the appellate court they should have been accepted and read to the jury. Another way is by influencing the wording of the instructions that are actually accepted, so that you can argue to the appellate court the instruction requires evidence of X, but there was insufficient evidence of X presented for a reasonable jury to rule against your client.

Excellent point, and one that I ought to have mentioned — planning your case not just for the trial itself but also to perfect the information on the record for appeal is an essential part of good lawyering. And I ought to have made that clear.

And Evil Parallel Universe points to this very useful text on jury verdict forms, for those who had trouble deciphering the verdict form discussions today in the scintillating jury instructions haggle during today's liveblogging.

But today's comment of the day goes to Boudica, for this gem that may have to go in the FDL Comment Hall of Fame (okay sure, we don't really have one, but we may have to start one…):

One can imagine Judith Miller taking her first sip of coffee while opening the NY Times. Front page, center, above the fold. Judith Miller. Picture it, savor it.

To Boudica — lucky for you, my coffee cup was empty at the time that I read this, or you would have owed me a new laptop. That was laugh out loud funny this morning. Kudos!

And for more snark, please, for the love of all that is holy, go read TBogg.  (Yes, I am shamelessly trying to get back in your good graces after talking jury instructions minutiae again.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com