What Is Your Favorite Legal Movie?
What is your favorite legal movie?
DUI defense is never far from my mind. I was reminded of this last weekend watching my favorite legal movie, “My Cousin Vinny.” In the movie, a novice New York attorney (Joe Pesci) heads to the deep south to defend his cousin and his friend in a high-profile murder case. He is met with a hostile judge and a pompous attorney who are hell bent on seeing the two kids put away for murder. Consequently, comedy ensues.
Because of his inexperience, Vinny has a hard time at trial. Especially relevant is his lack of understanding of criminal procedure. However, he makes a comeback. In the course of the trial the prosecutor calls George Wilbur (James Rebhorn) as an expert for the State.
Vinny Gambini: I object to this witness being called at this time. We’ve been given no prior notice he’d testify. No discovery of any tests he’s conducted or reports he’s prepared. And as the court is aware, the defense is entitled to advance notice of any witness who will testify, particularly to those who will give scientific evidence, so that we can properly prepare for cross-examination, as well as to give the defense an opportunity to have the witness’s reports reviewed by a defense expert, who might then be in a position to contradict the veracity of his conclusions.
[there is a short pause as Judge Haller appears caught off-guard by Vinny’s sudden compentence with knowledge of the law]
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Mr. Gambini?
Vinny Gambini: Yes, sir?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.
Vinny Gambini: Thank you, Your Honor.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: [firm tone] Overruled.
Challenging the State’s Witness
The key to a good legal movie is a plausible courtroom scene. Here, the State’s witness is the special automotive instructor of forensic studies for the FBI. What’s more, he testifies that the tire marks left at the scene of the crime match the tires of the vehicle driven by Vinny’s clients. “Same tires,” says the prosecutor. In addition to the science, the witness has all of the traditional indicia of credibility due to an outstanding education and an authoritative command of the courtroom. The only problem with his testimony is that he is DEAD WRONG! In the movie the kids are saved by out-of-work hairdresser Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) whose real world expertise proves that the car did not match the tire tracks left at the scene.
We are almost always faced with police officers and forensic experts who are clothed in the traditional indicia of credibility. In addition, DUI defense attorneys also face a machine that the state of Ohio has exempted from scientific challenge. The only thing that our clients have going for them is us! As a result, you need to have an attorney you can depend on.
I also take pleasure in proving the machine and the State’s witnesses wrong. It is said that DUI is the most frequently mis-charged crime in the United States. When you can get a jury to see an error it is as dramatic as anything Hollywood can produce. Furthermore, it is a feeling that most attorneys, especially me, strive to have as much as humanly possible. Maybe one day I will have the opportunity to deliver the opening statement that Vinny Gambini uses in the movie…
Vinny Gambini: [opening statements] Uh… everything that guy just said is bullshit… Thank you.
My Closing Argument
I dedicate my practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. I have the credentials and the experience to win your case. You can be sure that I want to be Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact me by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.
You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. In addition, I like a good legal movie. Finally, you should keep my motto in mind, “All I do is DUI defense.”
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