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Friday, November 29, 2013

Model Witnesses -- a review of a trial strategy book.

This is a different Blog approach. For my posting this week, I thought I would review a book I recently purchased. I have several upcoming jury trials, and thought I would see if there were any good resources on trial tactics that perhaps I had not seen before. Never hurts to pursue new reading material!

I decided on Model Witness Examanations, by Paul Sandler and James Archibald (Third Edition -- 2010). Not sure if there was a fourth edition, however, this work was recommended to me by a fellow practitioner so I thought I would give it a go.

This is a very interesting work -- first, it provides concrete examples of how to conduct a direct (and cross) examination of a witness under different circumstances and for different purposes. Secondly, it sites rules and cases heavily, providing a strong basis for the example and supporting "reasons" for the rules.

However, there are two significant detractors, and I am unclear why the book does a poor job of addressing them. They seem fundamental to the topic. First, the author makes no attempt to explain what a practitioner should expect if he/she actually used one of the sample approaches in trial. While the examples are generally sound, you ought to bet that opposing counsel will protest and object vigorously -- and Mr. Sandler does little to address what these objections will be. Oh, there are half-hearted attempts to indicate what might be said, and how a judge would rule, and there are some warnings (for example, "Whether the police officer in this pattern can testify to a hearsay declaration by an absent witness might present a problem." - pg. 8), but truly little is discussed about the "jam" effect of opposing counsel objecting and completely throwing the questioning line of thought. And to think a judge would actually site to Rules is just ridiculous. They (judges) rarely do --and often judge get's it wrong, too. For example, helpful might be: "When you use this line of questioning, you should expect objections in the form of objection...."

Tied closely to the first detractor, I did not like how the author brought forth various forms of testimony on one hand, but failed to give examples on how opposing counsel might rehabilitate a witness (or challenge an expert) on the other. Essentially, there are two sides to every case -- and there was not enough examples of for/against positions and how to guide questions on each side (on the same topic). That would have really assisted in developing good case management strategies. As we often teach new associates -- take the position of the opposite side -- thus will you be ready for any argument.

Overall, the work was intelligently written, clearly well researched, and helpful. It will find a nice place in my litigation library. However, with just a few more tweaks, it could truly have stood out as an exceptionally useful training tool.

Do you need a book, article or paper reviewed? Would you like a seminar or class on a particular legal topic? Let us know! We've been doing this for a few years, and would be glad to share our experiences as trial attorneys.

http://www.hanoverlawpc.com
703-402-2723

Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Principal Attorney
The Hanover Law Firm is located in Washington, DC and Fairfax, VA. We practice
in both state and federal courts in VA, MD, and DC.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The abused spouse and the I-360 - VAWA

An interesting crossroads between Family Law and Immigration Law is the I-360 -- Petition for Special Immigrant Visa. While this form can be used for a couple of purposes, by and away the largest utilization is for VAWA purposes -- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Fortunately, this Act applies to both men and women, so do not be confused by the gender in the title. The I-360, in the Family Law context allows an abused immigrant to self-apply for a green card (LPR status) if the marriage that brought him/her to the US was broken due to violence, abuse, or fraud by the his/her partner.

Under normal I-130/I-485 procedures, in order to apply for a green card (LPR status), once married, the sponsoring spouse (citizen or LPR) must submit supporting forms to show that the immigrant is lawfully married, and that the marriage is not a sham. This involves, among other things, the requirement that the sponsoring spouse attend the LPR interview for the immigrant.

In the 1980's there came about an explosion in mail order brides -- and with this, the attendant exploitation of foreigners coming to the US for the first time to meet their "mates." Women would all too often be trapped in a relationship, unable to obtain legal status (and often with her passport taken), and therefore unable to leave. Report of rampant abuse, prostitution, and horrid conditions led to the passage of the VAWA (those section regarding immigration)in the early 1990's.

Key aspects of VAWA -- you must show abuse (mental or physical); it must be documented. The marriage must be concluded (i.e. divorce must be underway), and the original marriage must be valid (the person petitioning for the I-360 cannot have caused the fraud to have occurred if it did).

While awaiting final adjudication of your application, you can also receive a work permit, and any pending immigration action is frozen (i.e. deportation actions if your spouse refused to attend your LPR interview).

If you have a question about VAWA, divorce, spousal abuse, or family immigration activities, CALL US! We can help -- we've been doing this for years, and have considerable experience on helping women (and men!) who are in an abusive situation.

By the way -- spousal support is often possible if the I-864 was filed by the now abusing spouse. Be sure to speak to us about this -- as it could be critical to getting money until you have a job. I-864 litigation must take place in FEDERAL COURT, not the court where you get a state divorce. This is tricky, so talk to an attorney first! http://www.hanoverlawpc.com
703-402-2723

Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Principal Attorney
The Hanover Law Firm is located in Washington, DC and Fairfax, VA. We practice
in both state and federal courts in VA, MD, and DC.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Useful "Q" Visa -- another way to work in the US

I recently had the pleasure of writing an article or two for use in the AILA Paralegal Handbook. For informaton on ordering or learning more, go here: Paralegal Manual. For an overview of material covered by the book, go here: Table of Contents.

An area I covered for the book included Q visas. This handy visa is an excellent work-around for finding a legitimate means to bring over a foreign worker for a short duration work experience. I've included an excerpt below.

There are two forms of exchange visas issued by the United States. The first, and most common, is the J visa. Less common is the Q. This under-used visa category offers unique opportunities for the immigration advocate to bring foreign aliens into the US in a manner that allows them to work, as well as learn, for a period of 15 months.

In a Q visa, the definition of cultural exchange is much broader than that of the J. 8 CFR 214.2(q)(3)(iii)(A) - (C) describes the requirements of a "cultural" engagement under Q. Essentially, this includes a requirement that the cultural aspects of the visitor be displayed to the general public (museums, schools, parks, or other public forums), and that the cultural aspects themselves include things such as (a) cultural heritage of the alien's home country, (b) structured instruction on particular aspects of the alien's country, (c) language, (d) history and heritage, etc.

Section 214.2(q)(3)(i) and (ii) explain the requirements for an employer to be involved in the program. These include the creation and maintenance of an exchange program (usually a program which shows the connections outlined in this section), and accessibility of the program to the public (214.2(q)(3)(iii)(A)).

The Q visa is uncommon, largely because it is unknown. However, the clever practitioner will recognize that almost any educated foreigner can be presented as a cultural exchange ambassador. With some thought, and creative sponsorship, it is possible to bring individuals to the US who may work, present on their home country, and remain in the country legally for 15 months. Finally, there is no bar from converting from the Q visa to another status.

Do you need help getting "legal" in the US, or determining how to come to the US to work? Contact us! It is often much cheaper to fix a problem before it happens. Like many visas, a "Q" visa requires a sponsor and proper planning. However, with a little forethought, you can work and operate legally in the US. Further, you can convert into a Q visa if you are already here. A consultation may be just the ticket to avoiding illegal overstay or finding the perfect segway into employment with a qualified organization.

http://www.hanoverlawpc.com
703-402-2723

Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Principal Attorney
The Hanover Law Firm is located in Washington, DC and Fairfax, VA. We practice
in both state and federal courts in VA, MD, and DC.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DUI -- and the five day rule

Recently had a couple of DUI's that seemed to have come to me after they had attended their initial hearing. This is just a reminder about seeking to have your license re-instated prior to your hearing date. In order to do so, you must file with the DMV to have a preliminary hearing within five days of having your license taken by the police for a DUI. This is known as the "five day rule."

A mere arrest for DUI is not a conviction, and an argument to have your license re-instated pending a trial on the merits will usually be permitted. Remember, though -- you must contact the DMV within 5 days of getting the DUI or jurisdiction on the license question is permanently transferred to the courts.

Need help with a DUI or OWI? Give us a ring! We'll discuss your case for free on the phone. We have several VA, DC, and MD lawyers who have considerable experience in drunk driving, operating while impaired, and drug cases.

http://www.hanoverlawpc.com
703-402-2723

Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Principal Attorney
The Hanover Law Firm is located in Washington, DC and Fairfax, VA. We practice
in both state and federal courts in VA, MD, and DC.