This lecture describes the most common defense to violent crimes – justification, or the legitimate use of force. Historically, American law has favored the use of force in defense of self or others, to protect dwellings or property, or to effect lawful arrests. At the same time, a long-term trend has demanded that the use of force be deemed objectively reasonable and has tended to shift the burden of establishing justification to the accused. More recently, the rise of second amendment jurisprudence, together with passage of concealed carry and open carry laws have brought the problems of self defense into the forefront, as have highly publicized cases of self defense such as the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial.
Areas of Practice
• Murder -- Homicide -- Death Penalty Cases
• Serious Felonies
• Drug / Weapons Cases
• Appeals -- Post-Convictions
• Sentencing -- Mitigation
• Civil Rights/1983
• Legal Education
• Legal Ethics
• 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Certified Legal Specialties
• Certified Lead Counsel, Capital Litigation Trial Bar, Illinois Supreme Court, 2001
• Illinois, 1985
• U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 2008
• Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York
o J.D. - 1983
o Honors: Order of Barristers, Moot Court
• University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
o Honors: With Honors
o Major: History
• Reasonable Doubt Redux, 34 John Marshall L. Rev. 495, 2001
• The Admissibility of Expert Testimony, American Bar Association, 2003
• People v. Terry Griggs, 152 Ill.2d 1, 604 N.E.2d 257 (Ill. S. Ct. 1992)
• People v. Arthur King, 154 Ill.2d 217, 608 N.E.2d 877 (Ill. S. Ct. 1993)
• New Ideas for Jury Selection, Illinois Public Defender Association, 2007
• Capital Jury Selection, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal, 2007
Honors and Awards
• Kutak-Dodds Award, Defender Prize, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, 2003
Professional Associations and Memberships
• Illinois Public Defender Association, President, 2006 - 2008
• Illinois Public Defender Association, Board Member, 2000 - Present
Past Employment Positions
• Office of the State Appellate Defender, Deputy Defender, 2000 - 2008
• Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, Assistant Public Defender, 1989 - 2000
A good teacher.
Comparison of different approaches by different jurisdictions was interesting.
Presenter was extremely knowledgeable across multiple jurisdictions, relaxed and thorough. Enjoyable presentation. Thanks
Very skilled criminal lawyer
Good anecdotal stories.
Very informative and presented well.
Well-presented and informative.
Another great job. Thank you
Stephen was excellent! Loved how he weaved one story throughout his lecture. Brilliant.
Straight and to the point. Excellent examples.
As a retired Cook County Assistant States Attorney who has done three dozen murder trials, the perspective from the other side was refreshing and hit all the important notes.
Speaker very knowledgeable
In my opinion the speaker of this course was well-organized. Thank you.
Stephen is smart and funny.
Great speaker. Terrific topic!
Very excellent presentation!
not directly pertinent to my practice, but useful and timely perspectives
Great use of examples from trial cases.
Good coverage and strategies
great topic, very interesting
Very well done, clearly presented.
Great presenter and course! Captivating!
Well done !
very well presented.. very helpful.
This was the absolute best presentation I have seen since attending CE classes and in 35 years of practice. An experienced and highly articulate attorney with a clear and in depth understanding of the legal issues. Thank you very much Lawline.
Excellent presentation--the speaker made it very understandable in this difficult areas of criminal law which varies from state to state.
best one so far imo
I thought this was very interesting and well presented by the lawyer. it's not exactly my field but somewhat related to past experience and also topical.
I really enjoyed this course and the presentation. Thank you.
Appreciated the "war" stories as examples
Excellent course because the criminal defense attorney used his own experiences, cases, and strategies to demonstrate how the laws were actually applied to the defendant by prosecutors, police interrogators, judges, and juries based on their moral judgments made about both the victim and the defendant.
Nice use of real life examples to illustrate concepts.
Skilled, articulate presenter shares helpful examples.
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