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October 5, 2007

Slade elects not to testify

slade%20100507.jpgThe defense rested Thursday in the criminal trial of former Texas Southern University president Priscilla Slade (previous posts here) without the defendant taking the stand in her own defense. Slade told the Chronicle that she felt "wonderful" about the conclusion of her defense, while defense counsel Mike DeGeurin explained on the courthouse steps that "the defendant never testifies if the state has not proven their case. That's just a given rule."

Maybe so, but as noted here and here in connection with a couple of other high profile cases, the decision not to testify in white collar criminal cases is risky. Juries in white collar cases expect to hear from the defendant, and when they don't, they commonly hold against the defendant. That's not it's supposed to work, but that's the reality. As the late Edward Bennett Williams used to advise his white collar criminal clients, "If you elect not to testify, then you better bring your toothbrush with you to the courthouse."

The prosecution finished its rebuttal portion of its case on Thursday. The jury is off on Friday as the judge and lawyers finalize the jury instructions. Final arguments are scheduled to begin on Monday.

Posted by Tom at October 5, 2007 12:10 AM |

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