Author Gary S. Gildin presents readers with a civil rights action for damages case in the latest and timely file, Stucky v. Conlee, Parsell, and Nita City. Plaintiff Clayton Stucky is an African-American who works as a trooper with the Nita State Police. While off duty and driving his personal vehicle, Stucky was pulled over by two City of Nita police officers, who then sought consent to search the car.
Furthermore, officers Conlee and Parsell, both Caucasian, allege that Stucky was driving over fifty miles per hour on a city street zoned for twenty-five miles per hour. Conlee and Parsell issued Stucky a citation for driving at an unsafe speed. Stucky then sues the officers for damages caused by their violation and alleges they pulled him over for “driving while black.”
The file contains three witnesses for each side as well as a racial profiling expert and a medical expert available to both the plaintiff and the defendant, and electronic exhibits.
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The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) joined forces with Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts this year for a public service trial skills program. The program occurred June 14-16 and was held in Little Rock, Arkansas. This three-day intensive training of 46 public service attorneys was led by Program Director, Michael Johnson, who has taught over 100 NITA programs – custom, public, and public service.
This was the second year in a row NITA has worked with The Arkansas Administrative Offices of the Courts in order to put on a public service trial skills program for the advocates. Johnson served as Program Director both years and has had a great experience. “Over the one and a half years that we have worked with the advocates in Arkansas who toil in dependency/neglect proceedings, we have provided training for, and, hopefully enhanced the advocacy skills of more than 140 attorneys. The work these advocates undertake regarding children and families is so fundamentally critical to society. I cannot put it any better than one of the world’s truly inspirational leaders said it: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa. It is very rewarding as an advocacy teacher to work with these dedicated professionals.”
In true NITA fashion – each skill was presented in a “learning-by-doing” methodology where participants were able to learn the skill, practice, and receive immediate feedback/critique. One participant stated, “This was the best and most practical CLE I’ve ever participated in. I had not had training in anything that was covered at the NITA training and it was all very valuable information.”
NITA is proud to announce the 2017 2nd quarter recipients of the Advocate Designation. These designations are awarded to a person who has taken a well-rounded set of courses, proving they are serious about trial advocacy.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even with all the judicial words carefully chosen and deeply scrutinized for their wisdom in written opinions, the flags marking the character of any lawyer or judge are the ones said outside crafted rulings and precedential cases. This is not a political statement – it is one of humanity.
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.’s recent reflection illustrates the impact of this humanity. Each lawyer, whether or not the leading Justice in the land, sets the object and tone of true justice by the words and action expressed publicly. If those words are true as the North Star and delivered with some art, they will make a difference every day in your communities, offices, and courts.
Here, then, are the markings of the ideal advocates. This is the passage from Justice Roberts’ commencement speech to his son’s school of middle-years boys.
“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either … I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.” Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., June 3, 2017.
I too hope for these blessings of adversity for every lawyer and would-be lawyer. I count on them in every NITA attendee, and honor the ability of lawyers to rise above personal hardship and to learn. I honor their dedication to remembering, long after they can claim “success,” that feeling of struggling.
Speaking of struggling, the residents across the nation who seek consistent safety, shelter, and the “luck” of a predictable life know more about compassion than most of us will ever learn. In The Legal Advocate’s recent blogposts, you have read about some of the public service programs NITA presents, with at significant investment of its own resources. We thrill to serve these advocates who push justice forward against many odds.
And so, you may ask, in my ED Letters introducing our staff (January-June 2017), why have I not mentioned the “public service staff.” Simple — “They are Us.” We all serve NITA’s public service mission alongside our regular programs to bring the best NITA program-learning to every advocate who wishes to enroll. A public service program is no different in its quality of learning. But it is an extra measure. We are proud. We thrill to offer it. And we are thankful every day that we can do so, thanks to you.
Have a reflective and inspiring summer’s pause!
Karen M. Lockwood, Esq.
President and Executive Director
National Institute for Trial Advocacy
This year, NITA joined forces with New Mexico Law Office of the Public Defender for a public service trial skills program, June 8-9 in Albuquerque. During the intensive two-day program, the public defenders learned skills such as opening and closing statements, direct and cross examination, and exhibits. With a “drills-style” and NITA’s tried and true “learning-by-doing”, attendees were able to enhance their trial skills in this customized two-day program. NITA Program Director and Attorney Mary Jo Barr worked with Metro Division Managing Attorney Patricia Anders at the New Mexico Law Office of the Public Defender, to make sure the program schedule was customized to fit the needs of the public defenders.
“I loved this course. It was a very effective in helping boost my trial skills. I especially like that the course helps improve individuals from whatever their current skill may be,” stated one attendee. NITA programs cater to various skills levels which can often create a wide range of attendees.
Likewise, one attendee stated, “This was very helpful. I do not have much trial experience, and it was very useful to get some guidance on being an effective trial advocate. I appreciated the opportunity to practice in front of people, even when I felt uncomfortable.” NITA’s learning-by-doing method calls for many opportunities in which attendees practice a skill and then are able to receive immediate feedback and critiques. This approach means many chances to be on your feet and practicing.
Not only did the public defenders share their successes of the program, but Program Director Mary Jo Barr also felt the course very worthwhile. “Public Service is the noblest good – we hear it so often is has become a platitude. Working with the public defenders of the State of New Mexico at the NITA trial skills program and the difference between talking about public service and doing public service could not have been more obvious or rewarding. It may be a platitude to say it these days but it remains righteous to do it.”
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: