Sunday School

A large community of talented and committed individuals, in many cases attorneys, helped keep this effort afloat.  On any given day, the stats show a considerable number of readers hailing from law firms far and wide, from K Street to Main Street and every street in between.  Those lost billable hours will remain our little secret.

Last August, just after the third anniversary of Robert’s murder, we were fortunate to host one particularly sharp legal mind.

On break from a criminal defense conference in DC, Themis joined us for hours of engaging conversation, a tutorial on legal maneuvering, strategy, and tactics, then a walking tour of the Swann Street neighborhood.  

Long interested in the case, Themis brought compassion for Robert and his family along with skills honed from many years providing vigorous defense to the less fortunate, indigents, who find themselves accused in capital cases.  The work of the Lord.

Her words were a self-fulfilling prophecy that evening.  “Close to trial, expect a wave of motions,” she told us.  We hardly knew then what shape they’d take or just how many there would be.

Her tutoring of four legal novices didn’t end there; it continues as we find ourselves less than 24 hours from trial.  Today, Themis offers a course on bench trials, their Constitutional origins and practical advice for attorneys trying them.  After the jump, today’s class begins with the basics:

7 comments for “Sunday School

  1. des
    05/16/2010 at 3:44 PM

    thanks to themis and to our editors. what a thorough website.
    i have been continually impressed by the work you have done. and the contributions by the commenters has time and again made this a very comprehensive blog. that in itself is a tribute to robert – that there are people who truly want justice and are delving into all aspects of the awful crime that occurred and all aspects of the long road to justice.
    i know it sounds trite, but apart from being fascinated by the case and how people that i have actually met could be responsible for this horrible crime, and apart from being emotionally affected at times by learning the details around how this poor man died, it is a fascinating case and i have learned quite a bit.
    and so i continue to mostly lurk and keep praying for justice and that whoever is guilty be appropriately punished.

  2. Hoya Loya
    05/16/2010 at 6:13 PM


    Thank you for sharing these excellent pieces. For anyone approaching these articles with some trepidation — they are written in plain English and well worth your time.

    Of particular interest to me from the first article: the idea of combining a motion for acquittal (at the close of the governments case) with the defense’s closing argument. Though for reasons listed in the article I don’t see it being used here, we’ve been surprised before and it is nevertheless interesting.

    Also, the reminder that the judge will not hold defendants’ silence against them. There is speculation that the bench trial may have been elected because one or more of the defendants may testify. Perhaps the bench trial was elected because they are NOT going to testify.

  3. TT
    05/16/2010 at 8:46 PM

    There are a alot of things positive about this blog. I just found out Themis is a Woman. Thank you Themis. Being gay, I find I peg different bloggers by being male or female. So much for knowing…

  4. Clio
    05/16/2010 at 10:01 PM

    Thanks and welcome back, Sister Themis! One can never have too much historical background: who knew that bench trials for serious charges were relatively common in the last quarter of the twentieth century in the United States!

    The second posted reading was even more fascinating for this non-lawyer: are judges such as Lynn increasingly aware of this advice, choreography, and staging?

  5. Bea
    05/16/2010 at 10:43 PM

    Always good to hear your voice, Themis.

    Hoya, I’ve always thought Joe would want to testify – I think with a bench trial, the chances increase. But if I were Connolly and Schertler, I’d want Victor and Dylan’s voices heard then too. Particularly since Joe’s interrogation transcript came off the worst of the three (at least in the black and white of pages).

  6. Izzydc
    05/17/2010 at 1:36 AM

    Hey — Check out this story in the Washington Post about our heroes, the fabulous four editors and this website. With photos too!

  7. Friend of Rob
    05/17/2010 at 8:56 AM

    Shocked to see how “old” our four editors are. Don’t know why I pictured folks in their 20’s.

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