By Joseph E. Taylor
In State v. Casey, the defense and the prosecution agree that Bill Melton and his eleven-year-old son Stephen were murdered in their home with Bill’s own shotgun. What they don’t agree on, however, is who pulled the trigger.
Michael Casey, the eighteen-year-old defendant, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his stepfather and half-brother. Michael confesses to Detective Stevens but later recants, contending that it was his mother, Dianna Melton, who actually murdered Bill and Stephen to collect $500,000 in insurance money. The prosecution stands by its case that Michael, allegedly inspired by a made-for-television movie about a teenager who murders his family under similar circumstances, killed both victims–and would have killed his own mother, too, if he hadn’t run out of shotgun shells.
This second edition of State v. Casey tests the student’s advocacy and medical expert witness skills through this full trial, which includes four witnesses per side, including the coroner and forensic experts in fingerprint and blood spatter analysis, and electronic evidence in the form of Facebook posts on an online “microsite.” The case file also includes CD-ROM containing the exhibits.
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We look back every year to count our programs, the people we reach, the faculty we thank, the public service program impact, and the liveliness of our famous publications both bound and digital. I am proud to say, “we are so proud!”
Please, now, click here to enjoy our visual, colorful 2014 Annual Report. I explain how we carry this forward in 2015.
I would love to hear from you. Email me, call my office. There is nothing more important to NITA than you, our faculty, attendees, admirers, supporters and friends. Spread the word in your regions, to your friends!
Karen M. Lockwood, Esq.
President and Executive Director
National Institute for Trial Advocacy
Our own Doris Cheng, NITA-San Francisco faculty leader, was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in June. Honored at ACTL’s June 2015 Spring Meeting in Key Biscayne, Doris was further selected to accept the honor on behalf of the 82 new Fellows in her class. She was spectacular. Her speaking photo delivers the framework for the punch of her words. Her words reflect the devotion needed to achieve ACTL’s mission, and NITA’s mission as well:
“If you will please indulge me because I do miss my father, I have a collection of his poetry that I translated from Chinese to English. He wrote this in 1997 when he had been diagnosed with cancer. We were visiting China in [his home town] Gualing, and he wrote:
‘The weary sun looks down at the sycamore tree.
Sweet Agmontis burst open in greeting.
Behold the mountains and river and climb the crooked path.
Without realizing it you have reached the cliff of the immortals.’
“That is what I wish for all of us, that we shall reach that cliff to change history, to right all the wrongs in the world, and immortalize it for the people who come behind us. As you look to your left and you look to your right, you must see what I see: a ripple of hope that the strength of this organization will never surrender the fight to protect the right to a just, equal and democratic society.”
NITA, too, is defined by the community of our mission. Looking across our faculty and alumni, seeing the ripple of hope that the NITA teachings, and the effectiveness of our learners, will press forward into our courts. It will work in all sides of a case, on all types of matters, in all levels of courts. It will never allow mediocrity in advocacy to weaken the role of justice, thus “protecting the right to a just, equal, and democratic society.”
Congratulations, Doris. Hands together to your fellow inductees. We salute our friendship with the College through the fit between our missions and the dedication of our communities of advocates. And we are proud of all of NITA’s faculty Fellows of ACTL.
The American College of Trial Lawyers is among the top honorary societies for lawyers in the country. It’s been around for sixty-five years, and membership is by invitation only. There is an intense vetting process, and the membership cannot exceed 1% of the total lawyer population of any state.
NITA is the preeminent provider to lawyers of greater advocacy skills. Learned the hard way by performance before unique NITA faculty, skills are acquired through nuanced critiques and practice. NITA faculty are selected from among the finest trial lawyers, advocates, judges, and law professors, for their combined mastery of advocacyr teaching.
NITA is proud to announce the 2015 Second Quarter 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.
by Professor Anthony Bocchino and Paul J. Zwier
In a successful litigation, it isn’t enough to know the facts. You must also know how to interpret and use those facts, and thoughtfully delving into the stories behind them is a crucial task if you hope to prevail for your client. Fact Investigation, by longtime NITA authors Paul Zwier and Anthony Bocchino, will change the way you approach cases for the rest of your career.
The Second Edition is fully revised, with special emphasis on the impact of the proposed Federal Rules Civil Procedure changes, and features an important new chapter on e-discovery. Rare is now the case that doesn’t involve some form of electronic evidence, and every litigator must know the ever-expanding issues surrounding it. Find out how e-discovery strategies differ from plaintiff to defendant and how to manage your client’s competing rights to both speech and privacy in our highly discoverable online world.
Retail Price: $55