Michigan v Jordan | A Demo of My Courtroom Style

David Gorcyca, the former Oakland County Prosecutor, once said that as a trial lawyer, “I can talk the talk AND I walk the walk”:

Neil Rockind isn’t shy about conveying his prowess and skills in the courtroom . . . But he can definitely back it up.  (Detroit News)

I’ve thought of that quote many times over my career.  It reminds me of how important the walk really is . . . I’ve walked my own way my entire career.  Someone once called me the Rockweiler because I’m aggressive and another called me “Son of Fieger” because of need to win at all costs and my passion but I think that I’m different — yes, I’m aggressive and passionate and need to win but I have other speeds too.  I demonstrated those speeds in court today in the People of the State of Michigan v Jordan.

Fine Print Answers

In this case, I faced the challenge of cross examining a state Trooper who speaks in “fine print”.  The kind of witness who always tries to add qualifiers, verbiage, addenda while answering questions.  For example, rather than simply answer yes or no when pressed about whether he omitted his backup officer’s name from his 200 page police report, he said, “structurally, yes.” ??  My ability to sift through nonsense and get answers AND reveal the Trooper to be a liar was critical to my client’s case.  I succeeded.

Witty and Charming

My entire office was in court today.  We were all there for a variety of reasons but we were there.  Jennifer, our paralegal and my eyes and ears in so many ways, was there too.  In the end, she mused aloud, “how do you [I] do it?”.   Chasing this Trooper’s answers, add-on’s, fragments, qualifiers, disclaimers and comments was like trying to grab a deflating balloon out the air (with a blindfold on).   But, over the years, I’ve proved pretty good at that particular mental task.

At one point, the obviously chagrined Trooper commented that I was longwinded/wordy.  “Of course I am . . . when witnesses are evasive, I use my words to chase them down”, but I said more.  Not angrily . . . I smiled and mused that “this won’t likely be the last time that someone would call me “wordy” and then after a second or two of a pause, I smartly added:

This won’t likely be the last time I cross examine a police officer who was so charming and witty.

All laughed . . . even the judge.  Later, the prosecutor would compliment me on how I handled this trooper.   One observer said, “smooth.”   I just smiled and thought, “that’s me . . . my style.”

We’ll post a video soon.  Get ready to be amused — be very amused.

 

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