Update -3: The FACDL Death is Different 15th Annual Death Penalty Seminar

FACDL Death Penalty Seminar, Day 3:

On Day 3 of the FACDL Death Penalty Seminar, it was my turn to speak on "Creative Motion Practice," which more accurately should be described as "Courage Under Fire."

Courage is what we, as death penalty attorneys, must muster in the face of horrible facts, a judge who loathes the client, a prosecutor who is determined to kill the client, the blood-lust of some members of society, and even the media-induced witch hunt against a client.

This is the type of courage that lawyers like Adam Tebrugge and Jose Baez demonstrate on a daily basis: Adam in the face of horrible evidence against his client, and Jose in his fight for his high-profile client.

In the face of all this, we must find the strength to file even those motions that we know will not be granted. We must do this, not only for the sake of due process and justice, but because sometimes, just sometimes, those motions are granted, and we win.

When the odds seems insurmountable and the outlook is bleak, we need to reach down deep inside and find the courage to write and argue one more time.

Update -2: The FACDL Death is Different 15th Annual Death Penalty Seminar

FACDL Death Penalty Seminar, Day 2:

Day 2 of the Death Penalty Seminar was a long day, but well worth the time. One of the highlights of the day was a speaker on False Confessions, Detective James Trainum.

Det. Trainum is the project director for VICAP's Violent Crime Case Review Project. In his session, Detective Trainum shared his own compelling and moving personal experience with a false confession. In his step by step deconstruction, Det. Trainum took us through the entire investigation to the discovery and gave insight on how to spot and fight a false confession.

The day ended with an inspirational session by the pioneering capital defense attorney and professor of law at DePaul University, Andrea Lyon. Prof. Lyon was the first woman to sit first chair in a death penalty case in the United States. After sharing some of her techniques, she brought most of the audience to the verge of (if not to actual) tears with her demonstration of a closing argument.

Update - 1: the FACDL (Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) Death Is Different 15th Annual Death Penalty Seminar

FACDL Death Penalty Seminar, Day 1:

This weekend, I am attending the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's 15th Annual Death Penalty Seminar. This is an annual event that I have often attended since its inception. It is an opportunity for death penalty lawyers to share tactics, techniques, and review the latest developments in the law.

Steve Potolsky, a renowned criminal defense lawyer who was on the team in the first Federal death penalty case tried in Florida, started the seminar with a discussion of national attitudes toward the death penalty Steve asserted that we are entering a period of national reconsideration for the death penalty and cited several reasons for the decline in death sentences nationally. Among these are increased publilcity surrounding exoneration by DNA evidence and the fact that many states have done away with the possibility of parole or early release in such cases. He noted that New Hampshire repealed the death penalty.

Another illustrious speaker yesterday was Gene Zenobi, with whom I have tried three death penalty cases. In addition to criminal defense practice, Gene has been an adjunct professor and is in the process of writing a manual on jury selection. In the seminar, he demonstrated voire dire techniques using the first two rows of the seminar lawyers - an effective and engaging session.

There were other great sessions on Creative Mitigation and Updates on Supreme Court jurisprudence - more updates to follow tomorrow.

- Terry

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