by Anthony G. Amsterdam and Randy Hertz

You get a call asking you to represent a client who has just been arrested. Or one who believes that s/he is "wanted" or under criminal investigation. What do you do?

Trial Manual 6 for the Defense of Criminal Cases gives you a complete roadmap on how to respond:

  • The questions you must ask your client immediately
  • The tasks you must get underway (client interview; defense investigation)
  • The preparations for the preliminary hearing
  • What tactics to take in plea negotiation
  • The motions you need to make—and what evidence you can get suppressed
  • The selection of the jury and the telling of the defendant’s story
  • The most effective closing arguments
  • And, what will be most important to your client: how fast can you get bail set!

Trial Manual 6 for the Defense of Criminal Cases is the classic guidebook for criminal defense lawyers at the trial level—completely updated for 2017. It gives defense lawyers the information they have to know, and the strategic factors they should consider, at each stage of the criminal trial process.

Volume One opens with a general sketch of criminal procedure and an outline of the first things to think about and do in the four common situations in which a defense attorney enters a criminal proceeding. The Volume then proceeds chronologically to cover pretrial proceedings, including bail and other forms of pretrial release; the initial client interview; dealings with police and prosecutors; defense investigation; preliminary hearing; grand jury practice; challenges to indictments and informations; pleas and plea bargaining; diversion; and the wide array of motions that should be considered in any criminal case. Because of the importance of federal (and often state) constitutional law in pretrial motions practice, the chapters on suppression motions and other pretrial motions contain substantial doctrinal analysis presented in a form that permits it to be easily converted into defense briefing.

Volume Two deals with the immediate run-up to trial, the trial itself, sentencing proceedings, and other trial-court proceedings after a guilty verdict or finding. The Volume begins with discussions of the timing of pretrial and trial proceedings; interlocutory review of pretrial rulings; and the concrete steps that counsel will need to take to prepare for trial. The Volume then addresses all aspects of the trial, including the decision to elect or waive jury trial; jury selection procedures and challenges before and at trial; evidentiary issues and objections; techniques and tactics for handling prosecution and defense witnesses; trial motions; opening and closing arguments; requests for jury instructions and objections to them; and jury deliberation. Issues, procedures, and strategies unique to bench trials are discussed in tandem with the parallel aspects of jury-trial practice. The Volume covers posttrial motions and sentencing, and concludes with a short summary of appellate and postconviction procedures and a précis of the first steps to be taken in connection with them.

With a sample bail questionnaire and an interview checklist, Trial Manual 6 for the Defense of Criminal Cases is an essential tool for any attorney doing criminal defense work.


Anthony G. Amsterdam is a University Professor and Professor of Law Emeritus at the N.Y.U. School of Law. He previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at Stanford. Throughout and following his fifty years of law teaching (which were preceded by a stint as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia), he has engaged in extensive pro bono litigation in criminal, civil-rights, and civil-liberties cases. He has also served as counsel, as a consultant, or as a member of the board of directors or advisors for numerous public-defender and civil‑rights organizations.

Randy Hertz is the vice dean of N.Y.U. School of Law and the director of the law school’s clinical program. He has been at the law school since 1985, and regularly teaches the Juvenile Defender Clinic and a course titled Criminal Litigation. Before joining the N.Y.U. faculty, he worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, in the juvenile, criminal, appellate and special litigation divisions.