In Episode 357 (Duration 54:41), trial attorney and Professor Steve Beckett of the University of Illinois School of law reveals his secrets when litigating a change in venue motion.
In This Episode
“Fair and impartial doesn’t mean you’re ignorant.” — Professor Beckett
Professor J. Steven Beckett reveals his litigation secrets as he unfolds the intricacies of a motion to change venue…I mean a motion to change place of trial.
Professor J. Steven Beckett
Professor J. Steven Beckett has been a trial attorney in Illinois for 44 years.
In 1987, The Professor began teaching trial advocacy at the University of Illinois College of Law. He has taught various other law classes over the years. He’s currently retired from his practice and the law school.
The Professor cut his teeth with public opinion polls when he litigated several high profile obscenity cases.
“Can’t Miss” Moments:
✓ This was the very first question the Professor was asking himself after he saw the charges against Curtis Lovelace. It is not a coincidence that Curtis was charged in Adams county but tried in Sangamon County. (Go to 5:50)
✓ The little known history of the law around moving a trial. We go from territory days to modern times…and even cover a few famous Abraham Lincoln cases. (Go to 7:35)
✓ When it comes to motions for change in venue (change the place of trial) there is one specific area that if overlooked can cost you the motion. If this issue is present in your case it can practically guarantee you’ll win the motion. (Go to 15:25)
✓ What’s your hunch on how modern social media influences this issue? (Go to 17:21)
✓ Everything you need to know about professional public opinion polls and how to use this powerful legal weapon in your litigation. How are they done? What do they cost? Where to find a good polster? How long do they take? (Go to 17:52) & (Go to 31:45)
✓ Listen real close around minute 21:20, the Professor drops a real gem about jury bias and impartiality. This nugget is worth some real money, and the Professor gave it to you for free! Understanding this will change how you handle these motions in the future and ratchet up your chances of winning them. (Go to 21:20)
✓ Here are the exact questions to ask during voir dire when you’re probing this topic. If the judge let’s you, the Professor lays out a logical and efficient way to conduct the questioning (Hint: the Professor explains how to lure the judge into doing it your way.) (Go to 22:22) & (Go to 40:53)
✓ Be prepared to ask for these two things in the unfortunate scenario where you lose the motion to change place of trial. (Go to 37:52)
Links & Resources
- The Professor’s Book: Illinois Criminal Law And Procedure A Law Enforcement Perspective/Statutes, Cases, and Commentary
- Sound Jury Consulting (the firm used by the Professor in the Curtis Lovelace case)
- 725 ILCS 5/114-6 – Motion To Change Place of Trial
- William “Duff” Armstrong Case (Famous Lincoln Case: The Almanac Case)
- Father Chiniquy Slander Case (Famous Lincoln Case: Peter Spink v. Charles Chiniquy)
- Adams v. Texas (SCOTUS case on impartial jury)
- Sheppard v. Maxwell (SCOTUS case on impartial jury)
- More SCOTUS on Impartial Jury
- People v. Taylor (great Illinois case mentioned by The Professor where attorney kind of manages his own poll)
- People v. Hall (old obscenity case handled by Beckett where poll data was used)
- See The Illinois Criminal Trial Resource Page
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