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The Champion

May 2017 , Page 44 

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12 Myths About Trying Criminal Cases

By Daniel E. Bertolino

One lesson learned from a lifetime of exposure to criminal trial work is that nothing works all of the time. Yet some techniques have a better chance of succeeding in the courtroom, and some, despite their popularity, are simply not effective or advisable. Here are 12 myths about trying criminal cases, which may prompt the reader to question the conventional wisdom.

1. Use the ‘shotgun’ or ‘buffet’ approach to keep your options open.

Some defense attorneys cannot resist the temptation to advance at trial every conceivable defense they can think of, even those that are mutually exclusive.

The reason that this approach does not work is that it does not pass the “living room test.” In other words, if something does not work in defense counsel’s own house, it probably will not work in the courtroom either. Imagine that a neighbor knocked on defense counsel’s door and said that counsel’s son had thrown a baseball through the neighbor’s picture window. When confronted about

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