Running Time: 3 hours
Cost: $179 for all three hours or $79/ 1 hour module
Subject: Cross-Exam of Experts, Junk Science, 404(B) & Ethics!
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Module 1: | Lessons From The Michael Peterson Murder Trial
He said she fell. The state said it was murder. It became The Staircase.
On December 9, 2001, Michael Peterson, veteran and author, living in North Carolina with his wife Kathleen, called emergency responders to assist with his wife whom he found at the bottom of the stairs in their home. What would ensue would be played out across the national and international media – secret lives, million dollar insurance policies, and one of the longest trials in North Carolina history.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Jean-Xavier de L’Estrade chronicled the prosecution of Michael Peterson as it was unfolding . The filmmakers gained unprecedented access to Peterson, his legal team, his family, and the state as they investigated and tried the case. The result is the first and best true crime documentary series, “The Staircase” (currently streaming on Netflix).
Using clips from the film, including never-before-seen footage, lead counsel David Rudolf appears in this illuminating 3-hour series with an all-star panel of guests to tackle some of the most important and areas of the law that any criminal practitioner will encounter, including cross-exam of experts, junk science, other acts evidence and ethics.
Module 2 | Ethical Issues in Plea Bargaining, Evidence, & the Media
We have taken the critically acclaimed documentary series The Staircase and used the extraordinary twists and turns of that legal drama as case studies. This 1-hr CLE features David Rudolf (lead lawyer in the Peterson case) and Ethics expert Karen Clark in a panel moderated by attorney and former reporter in the Peterson case, Sonya Pfeiffer. Topics include the ethics of plea bargaining, duty to preserve and disclose potentially inculpatory evidence, and the ethics of defending your client in the media.
During trial, a potentially key piece of evidence is discovered in the defendant’s garage. What are his ethical obligations to preserve or disclose the evidence to the state? Later, David Rudolf finds himself in the unenviable position of having to counsel a man who unwaveringly professes his innocence to take a plea. All the while, the case unfolds relentless media scrutiny. What are the ethical boundaries for a lawyer who needs to fight back in the public square? Topics Addressed: Balancing your ethical duties to disclose evidence while still protecting your client, the ethics of plea-bargaining, and the ethics of dealing with the media.
Module 3 | Confronting 404(B) “Other Act Evidence”
We have taken the critically acclaimed documentary series The Staircase and used the extraordinary twists and turns of that legal drama as case studies. This 1-hr CLE features David Rudolf (lead lawyer in the Peterson case) and renowned criminal defense lawyer Lisa Wayne in a panel moderated by attorney and former reporter in the Peterson case, Sonya Pfeiffer. Go behind the scenes of the discovery, investigation, and litigation of the bad act evidence that put these trial lawyers to the test.
On trial for the murder of his wife, who was found at the bottom of a staircase in their North Carolina home, the prosecution seeks to introduce evidence from 18 years earlier in Germany where another woman in Mr. Peterson’s life was found dead – at the bottom of a staircase. Topics Addressed: The impact of “other act evidence” in criminal AND civil trials, investigating and litigating 404(b) allegations, assessing collateral issues with other acts, including memory, confabulation, and confirmation bias.
Module 4 | Direct & Cross of Experts and Combating Junk Science
We have taken the critically acclaimed documentary series The Staircase and used the extraordinary twists and turns of that legal drama as case studies. This 1-hr CLE features David Rudolf (lead lawyer in the Peterson case) and renowned forensic scientist Timothy Palmbach in a panel moderated by attorney and former reporter in the Peterson case, Sonya Pfeiffer. Includes never-before-seen-footage from the documentary, and a wealth of practical tips for confronting junk science issues in criminal and civil cases!
In order to rebut the defendant’s claim that his wife died from a fall down the stairs as opposed to a savage beating, the state enlisted a small army of dubious “experts” to prove its case. Topics Addressed: Recognizing when the “science” of your case is not science, understanding the limits of sound scientific technique, proper vetting of experts, direct and cross technique and tips, use of visual aids to aid in the jury’s understanding the science.