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The Six Commandments of Effective Appellate Preparation
By George A. Stein
During the course of a jury trial, you hear the prosecution ask a question that refers back to evidence you successfully excluded at an earlier point in the case. The time is 4:00 p.m., the jury’s attention is fading, and the trial judge has lost all patience with everyone in the courtroom. You begin to feel uneasy as you ask yourself: “Should I face the judge’s wrath and object or should I let this one slide?” You know full well the question is improper, but you also consider your setting, your client’s interests, and the prospect of belaboring a point you would rather see as “water under the bridge.”
You sit there and do nothing, letting the question slide. You rationalize with yourself and say, “It was a good trial tactic.”
However, was it a good appellate tactic?
Effective trial attorneys must not only be able to handle themselves in a courtroom, but must also be able to use the trial as a productive springboard for the appeal in the event that the client loses. The major problem many
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