Hone your skills with the fun and educational Appellate Advocacy Board Game ™, now on sale at the Court of Appeals gift shop. Let’s roll the dice and get started!
1. Monday morning find brand new file on your desk. A 7,000-page trial transcript, how exciting! Your new client was convicted of murder, attempted murder, thinking of murder and hurting a cop’s feelings. Trial judge was Honorable Curmudgeon “Reversible Error” Bludgeon. Must be some good, juicy appellate issues here! Advance 5 squares.
2. Three-week trial was transcribed by 15 different court reporters, each using own page numbering system. Every other page from 4,987-6,220 is illegible. Missing pages 2450-3,672. Back to square one.
3. Spot a promising suppression issue. Plainclothes cops stood under client’s window at 4 a.m. singing “Amazing Grace” until he came storming out in his underwear yelling at them to shut up. Cops arrested him for Obstructing Government Administration and Public Indecency, searched his apartment and found cell phone containing incriminating evidence In Plain View. Facts are identical to People v. Rodriguez where Appellate Division held that this violates Fourth Amendment, fruits must be suppressed. Advance 5 squares.
4. Read transcript of jury selection. It’s 3,000 pages long because judge insisted on asking each prospective juror where they were born, where they’ve ever lived, how many children they have, where each child lives, what each one does for a living, what are their favorite t.v. programs, how often they have sex and why. Also, judge started each day by reading aloud 25-page instruction on importance of jury duty. Eyes glaze over. Lose one turn.
5. Client’s grandmother ejected from courtroom for shouting BOOYAH! Egregious violation of constitutional right to public trial, except that defense counsel didn’t object. Cautiously advance 2 squares.
6. Case against client based entirely on security videotape showing 9 men on street corner. Client allegedly the one in the white T-shirt. Trial testimony completely unintelligible without videotape. Call DA’s Office to ask for it, told that ADA in charge of trial exhibits is on maternity leave, they don’t know when she’s coming back and nobody else knows where tape is. Back 3 squares.
7. Client’s grandmother phones demanding to know what’s holding up the appeal, as she needs grandson home by Christmas. Says he’s innocent, FBI was sending radio waves into his brain. Back 2 squares.
8. Court of Appeals reverses People v. Rodriguez. Says there’s no constitutional right to obstruct police investigative tactics. Back 6 squares.
9. Client’s grandmother shows up in your office lugging shopping cart full of newspaper clippings about FBI conspiracy. Leaves only after extracting promise that you’ll read them. Miss one turn.
10. Find note in court file showing that trial lawyer charged client’s family $100,000. Call up trial lawyer to see if she has videotape. Expensive trial lawyer says doesn’t have anything, “I just want to put that trial behind me.” Point out that client doesn’t have that option with sentence of 107 years. Get into huge fight. Back 2 squares.
11. Venting frustration, kick over client’s grandmother’s shopping cart which is blocking your file cabinet. Newspaper clippings spill out, revealing complete trial transcript and videotape underneath. Advance 5 squares.
12. Watch the videotape. It’s two hours long, showing 9 men standing on street corner. All wearing white T-shirts. Trial testimony still completely unintelligible. Go out to the corner bar for 3 o’clock happy hour. Miss 2 turns.
13. Watch TV news at bar. Headlines: US Attorney reveals FBI was sending radio waves into your client’s brain. US Supreme Court reverses NY Court of Appeals, unanimously affirms holding of People v. Rodriguez that Fourth Amendment prohibits cops from luring people out of their homes by singing “Amazing Grace” at 4 a.m. Manhattan District Attorney Vandal concedes your client was wrongfully convicted. Expensive trial lawyer indicted for falsifying CLE credits. BOOYAH!
14. Monday morning find brand new file on your desk. Start new game.