My Writing: Non-Fiction

Final Brief for Appellate Advocacy (2006)
My second appellate brief. I'm arguing for the prosecution in a New York criminal case in which the defendant/appellant was convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, N.Y.P.L. § 220.39. The issues are whether the trial judge allowed in too much of the defendant's prior criminal record, and whether the weight of the evidence presented at trial supports the jury's verdict. As this is based on a real case, the names of the parties and participants have been changed and the case number has been omitted. [Note: Page formatting not preserved in HTML.]

Final Brief for Legal Writing II (2006)
This is my first appellate brief, written for the first-year Moot Court competition at Brooklyn Law School. The issue is whether or not a canine sniff (use of a drug-sniffing dog) outside a person's house is a violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. I am arguing for the prosecution. The brief is written for the U.S. Supreme Court (writ of certiorari), but the names of all the parties and the forum state, as well as the Circuit Court of Appeals (there is no Fourteenth Circuit), are fictional. [Note: Page formatting not preserved in HTML.]

Final Memo for Legal Writing I (2005)
A Memorandum of Law is an inter-office document, written by an associate when a partner or other supervisor asks for the answer to a significant legal question, an analysis of a client's case, and an assessment of how a court is likely to rule. The issue here is whether the court is likely to dismiss a rock band's lawsuit against a record company, where the band has not been cooperating with discovery requirements. The scenario, names of the parties, and the court are all fictitious.

Whitey (2001)
In my "other" career, as a sports radio producer-engineer, I've met and worked with a lot of legends. One of them was Hall of Fame outfielder Richie Ashburn, who was a broadcaster for the Phillies. He died of a heart attack here in New York on September 9, 1997, about eight hours after I engineered his last Phillies broadcast. This is the story of that day.

John Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn (2001)
This analysis of the famous Romantic poem was my last graduate paper (I'll be posting more graduate essays and papers as soon as I locate the files). I put the baseball reference in there mostly to drive my professor nuts; he had practically challenged me to relate any Romantic poem to baseball, and as I am wont to do, I took him up on it.

Term Paper for English 251 (2000)
From an undergraduate Survey of English Literature I had to take as part of my Master's Degree program at Queens College. The paper discusses in detail the oddly congruent (and entirely unintentional) connections between the film Eight Men Out, a largely historically-accurate dramatization of the events surrounding the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal, in which eight members of the team conspired with gamblers to throw the World Series, and William Shakespeare's Tragedy of Julius Caesar, in which eight senators and noblemen conspired to murder the titular emperor.

Midterm Essay for English 251 (2000)
This is a fairly brief essay, a commentary about the role of the Old Man in "The Pardoner's Tale," from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Final Exam for English 251 (2000)
Another fairly brief essay, this one discussing the role of women in Medieval and Renaissance English literature, from both secular and religious traditions.

The Jeffrey MacDonald Case on alt.true-crime (1999)
Usenet is a part of the internet consisting of tens of thousands of "message boards," dealing with every topic under the sun. For several weeks in 1999, I engaged in a debate on the newsgroup alt.true-crime about a topic that has intrigued me for years: the case of former Green Beret doctor Jeffrey MacDonald, convicted in 1979 of the 1970 murders of his wife and two young daughters. This is one of the most controversial murder cases in history; it inspired a best-selling book and TV movie called Fatal Vision, which portrayed MacDonald as a psychotic killer who took a few too many diet pills, had an argument with his wife and snapped, then concocted a bizarre story to cover his crime.

It turned out, though, that Fatal Vision was largely fictional (author Joe McGinniss later admitted that he made parts of it up, including the diet-pill theory, to make the story more interesting), and not only was there evidence that MacDonald was innocent, but government prosecutors deliberately hid that evidence from the trial jury and from MacDonald's lawyers. MacDonald is still in prison, still seeking a new trial; if he's innocent, he's been a victim of the biggest government frame-up ever.

After studying this case exhaustively, I came to the conclusion at that time that MacDonald was wrongfully convicted and did not commit the murders. Many people, who have studied the case just as thoroughly, believe just as firmly that he is guilty. (Today, after further study and the revelation of new information, I'm not entirely sure…) Click the link above to read some of what I wrote on the newsgroup. To learn more about the case, try the following links:

Crime Library--Tragedy at Fort Bragg
The Jeffrey MacDonald Case (MacDonald Defense Website)
Fatal Justice

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site (exhaustive documents archive)


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