The Legal Advocate

A blog brought to you by the national institute for trial advocacy

Monthly Archives: August 2014

Jim Carrigan Memorial Service Notice

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Please join family and friends of Jim Carrigan for a memorial service in celebration of his life next week at CU Law School.  Below are the details with date, location and times.  Friends in the NITA community that live afar, please keep Jim’s loved ones in your thoughts.

Jim Carrigan Memorial Service
August 28, 2014
Wolf Law Building
2450 Kittredge Loop Road
Boulder, CO 80309

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Event: Public Memorial Service
Location: Wittemyer Courtroom

Time: 6:30 p.m.
Event: Private Memorial Reception
Location: Second Floor Cafe

Please RSVP at the CU LAW Link – www.colorado.edu/law/carrigan
See earlier post below for the full tribute to Jim Carrigan.

A Tribute to Jim Carrigan

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jimCarriganIf you ever had the chance to meet Jim Carrigan, consider yourself lucky to have been in the presence of such a humble, respected, kind, and educated man.  Jim was described as a remarkable human in all aspects of his life.  One of our founding friends and brilliant lawyer, judge, and leader, Jim Carrigan passed away at his Boulder home Friday afternoon.  Although the last years were difficult given his health, such a loss jars no matter how much anticipated.

His beloved wife Bev, family, and loved ones gathered in his remembrance over the weekend.  Those who gathered were sad to lose him and joyful to speak of his brilliance, humanity, compassion, humility, and faith. Beyond that, and uniquely Carrigan—at the funeral and in conversation—the thoughts honored his insight into justice, what justice requires, and how much injustice exists that is to be addressed and reversed.

Throughout his work in private practice, being a law professor, and becoming a U.S. district court judge, his professional accomplishments are highly known and respected.  He paired this with his love for education, love for Colorado, and most especially love for his family to leave a lasting mark on people’s lives and on the legal community.  We will have more to offer in memory of Jim, his force, and insights that NITA can draw from the examples and lessons he provided.  To carry his virtues forward is our task.

A continued posting will contain further details about contributing in his remembrance and shared thoughts from the NITA community about Judge Carrigan’s influence and impact.

For a more in-depth look at the celebration of his wonderful life, read further in the article from the Daily Camera and a detailed obituary.  A public memorial service will be held at the University of Colorado Wolf Law Building at a date and time to be determined.

August 2014 Executive Director’s Letter. NITA Growth and Accomplishments: Excitement Expressed to “Headquarters”

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Lockwood_Karen

In July, I asked you what “real people” activities you were planning for August. While you are in the middle of enjoying those activities (and we’d like to hear about them ), I hope you will enjoy our news about happy developments here at Boulder “headquarters.” (We pay attention also to being “real people,” enjoying homemade barbecue—thank you, Gary Pope, our HR director—and grilled burgers in the Rocky Mountain sun, as you can see in the staff party photos.)

I am happy to receive a wonderful crescendo of nice comments and interested new members of our network. We are witnessing the continued growth of NITA and the spread of NITA enthusiasm. You are part of making that happen.

We thank you for keeping NITA top of mind when talking with your lawyer colleagues and friends, for checking in with our news and opportunities on nita.org and on Facebook. Those who know us well already experience what I call “NITA Love”—a devotion that lasts a lifetime, thanks to the transformation from experiencing a live program. Talk about that transformation and unique experience, wherever you are!

Here are some more things you can talk about.

  • 2014 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Programs, awarded by ACLEA for our 2013 innovations using pre-recorded lectures to allow more time learning in-person “by doing” and NITA-quality critiquing. Press Release 8-12-2014
  • Outstanding, newly designed Annual Report released in early June. We are in our second printing! It is fun, interactive, and packed with information tied by our overarching mission. 2013 Annual Report pdf version. Contact us for your personal copy, which you will be proud to show others.
  • Year-long growth in public program enrollments continues through the summer. Focus your friends and colleagues on September through December—spaces are filling, and it is very helpful to sign up early and have time to prepare! We are now expanding program attendance limits as they exceed the planned size, so encourage latecomers call us to try to get in.
  • Urgent sign-up programs: Boston Deposition, September 12-14; Seattle Trial, September 2-7; Complete Advocate (Minnesota), September 13-19; Hanley Advanced Trial (San Francisco), September 15-19.
  • The complete program list and links through December 2014, in chronological order, is at nita.org/programs. You can navigate to “view all programs” or click here to find the August-December list. NITA programs 2014 chron
  • Planning the program lineup for 2015. We announce it in early fall, and are working to continue our fresh and ready, high-quality standards for all programs across the nation. Stay tuned online.
  • “Global impact.” That is how we describe the work that we turn attention to outside the fifty states. We understand the tight connection between skilled advocacy in fair justice systems and the rule of law. More interest is coming in from countries in important regions on all continents. We regard all with great attention and engage where we will have impact.
  • Handsome array of eBooks. Taking our unique and intensely useful publications onto our eBookstore, we are proud of the facile and attractive offerings of these electronic versions for Kindle and Apple devices. You may purchase our print publications from the website as well. If you are linking with LexisNexis, you will find paths to the print publications directly from there as well.
  • NITA Awards! We couldn’t do it without our stellar, imaginative, and devoted faculty members. Among the many, we receive many nominations for our three annual awards. This year the awardees are Jim McCrystal (Cleveland), Ben Rubinowitz (New York), Beth Sher (New York), and Dan Toomey. Thank you again, Jim, Ben, Beth, and Dan for all that you do—it is done with great talent! In case you missed the Press Release, click here. NITA Award Winners!

A unique free webcast next Tuesday, August 19, will address an important subject to us all and one that matters to every lawyer in court: bias in the courtroom. It promises to be an interesting focus on a subject that is always at play but that is subtle enough to miss. I hope to see you there! Sign up here: Bias in the Courtroom: What and Why / See It and Address It.

Much of the news I gather here appears in greater detail on our blog pages. Notice that the home page of The Legal Advocate blog.nita.org/ shows “news columns” listed at the right side. The NITA Community column is particularly important for news that you wish to share with other faculty and NITA community members. Be sure to check there often—not all of those are emailed to you, so watch your favorite columns every week.

Finally—add your comments below. Hit the link, and share your good news and contributions with the NITA community. I would love to hear from you. (And remember—what are your “real people” refreshers this month?)

Karen_ShortSig

 

 

Karen M. Lockwood, Esq.
President and Executive Director
National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Welcome the Newest NITA Advocates

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NITA is proud to announce the most recent recipients of the Advocate Designation. This designation is awarded to a person who has taken a well-rounded set of courses, proving they are serious about trial advocacy.

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  • Christianne Edlund | Mullin Russ Kilejian PC
  • Jean Niven | Merlin Law Group PA
  • Dorothy Guy | Social Security Administration
  • Kathleen Petty | Social Security Administration
  • Zachary Kitts | K & G Law Group
  • William Sias | County Counsel
  • Raul Olamendi Smith | San Diego Gas & Electric Co

If you have any questions on how you can receive the NITA Advocate or NITA Master Advocate Designation, please review the information on our Advocate Designations page, or email customerservice@nita.org.

Movie Review: “Inspired by a True Story?” Well, Not So Much . . . .

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murderInTheFirstWritten by guest blogger Judge McGahey

Movies like to blend fantasy with fiction.  “Based on a true story” or “based on real events” are phrases used to give a film legitimacy or authenticity.  The trouble is figuring out exactly where the facts end and the fiction starts. For example, Young Mr. Lincoln features a real person and contains kernels of truth (Lincoln’s stepmother encouraged him to read, he was a lawyer in Springfield, he was known for quirky humor, etc.) but embellishes other events or makes them up entirely.  Judgment at Nuremberg is another example: there were, in fact, war crimes trials held after World War II in that German city, but the movie itself is pure fiction. This month’s movie, Murder in the First, offers another example of this kind of melding.  It tells us it’s “inspired by a true story,” but, it turns out, not so much.

Starring Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater, the movie was released in 1995.  It tells the story of Henri Young (Bacon), a 17-year-old orphan who steals five dollars from a store during the Depression to feed himself and his sister.  Unfortunately for Young, the store also had a post office in it and he’s prosecuted in the federal system, ending up at Leavenworth. He’s later transferred to Alcatraz—“The Rock”—where he and two other prisoners try to escape. The escape fails due to another prisoner’s betrayal. Alcatraz’s sadistic warden (Gary Oldman) tortures Young and throws him into solitary for three years. Not surprisingly, Young loses his marbles.  After being put back into the general prison population, he attacks his betrayer with a spoon in the cafeteria (where else?) and kills him.  Put on trial for murder, Young’s lawyer, an inexperienced P.D. played by Slater, decides to defend Young by putting the prison system, Alcatraz, and the warden on trial, asking the jury to find that Young’s treatment turned him into a killer.  The trial turns into a political circus, replete with shouting, surprise testimony, an overbearing judge who tweaks the evidence to help the prosecution, etc.  Eventually, the jury finds Young guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but also returns a “verdict” against the warden and suggests an investigation of Alcatraz.  Before Young can be transferred to another prison, he’s (mysteriously) found dead in his cell. A voiceover at the end tells us the warden was convicted of prisoner abuse and that Young’s conviction caused Alcatraz’s underground cells to be closed.

But how much of this is true?  Well some of it, but not much.  There really was a Henri Young, but he wasn’t the innocent played by Bacon.  He was, in fact an experienced criminal, who’d been convicted of bank robbery (not a five-dollar theft) and had committed a murder in 1933. He’d previously spent time in state prisons for burglary and robbery and also in other federal facilities before being transferred to Alcatraz because he was an incorrigible prisoner. Young did kill another prisoner at Alcatraz, but in their book Reel Justice, Paul Bergman and Michael Asimow suggest it was “likely the result of a lover’s quarrel.” The murder took place in the prison laundry and Young used a knife. How long Young was actually in solitary can’t be confirmed, since no records currently exist, although contemporary newspaper accounts do reference the three-year claim. Young never served time in Alcatraz’s underground cells, since they were closed before he got there. It’s unlikely Young really was represented by a “Public Defender,” since that system didn’t become common at the state level until after Gideon v. Wainwright. Perhaps most interestingly, Young didn’t die in Alcatraz.  He was transferred to the federal medical facility in Springfield, Missouri in 1954 and, after finishing his federal sentence, was then transferred to a state penitentiary in Washington to serve a life sentence for that 1933 murder. He was released on parole in 1972—and promptly disappeared, never to be seen again.  If he’s still with us, he’d be ninety-six years old.

As you can see, this movie’s claim to be “inspired by a true story” is a serious stretch.  Nonetheless, it’s interesting to watch and certainly brings to mind the current concerns about the effects of long-term solitary confinement on prisoners, an issue of particular significance in my home state of Colorado after the murder of Department of Corrections head Tom Clements by a paroled prisoner who spent substantial time in solitary.  (Clements’ successor, Rick Raemisch, had himself placed in “ad seg” for twenty hours.  If you haven’t read his story, you absolutely should. It can be found in The New York Times for February 20, 2014.)

As trial lawyers, we like believe that trials are the best way to bring the truth out of conflicting stories. Helping fact finders discern the truth is perhaps our most important goal as advocates. Every one of us has seen examples of  truth that’s stranger than fiction.  But sometimes the real problem is telling the difference between the two—and Murder in the First is a perfect example.

NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system. NITA's Goals are to:
  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy.
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice.
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.
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