JOHN BERRY SPEAKS AT UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA COLLEGE OF LAW

On March 12, 2015, Criminal defense Attorney John Berry spoke to University of Nebraska – Lincoln law students about current criminal defense issues. The talk covered current criminal law issues at the legislature, training and education, and a criminal defense attorney’s courtroom perspective. Berry is currently the president of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association (NCDAA) which provides education and training to criminal defense attorneys throughout the State. NCDAA also monitors legislation that may negatively impact the Nebraska Criminal Justice System. When NCDAA feels that a law needs to be changed or that a proposed law could have harmful unintended consequences, the Association provides attorneys to testify at legislative hearings in order to provide committees with the practical application of proposed laws.

Berry indicated last week that NCDAA hosted a seminar in Omaha that focused on the use of expert testimony at trial. The seminar included mental health professionals, a medical doctor who provided information about reading and analyzing medical records and a cell tower evidence expert. Additionally, Kelly Steenbach of the Douglas County Public Defender’s Office also provided a presentation on the “Shot Spotter” which supposedly locates the origin of gun-shot sounds.

Berry said that criminal defense is difficult work. The government often has many more assets at its disposal than the citizen defendant. Fortunately the defendant has powerful constitutional rights including the right to effective assistance of counsel, the right to confront accusers, and the right to trial by jury.

Berry’s talk also covered some of his recent trial experiences, prosecutorial misconduct, and perspectives on the state and federal plea negotiations process.

Berry indicated that while criminal defense is challenging work, the opportunity to defend the constitutional rights of an individual is a great honor. He concluded the talk by speaking about making a difference in the lives of people overcame criminal charges. “Many people believe that their lives are over after they have been arrested and charged. They fear they will lose their jobs, families, and futures. Criminal defense attorneys provide hope, guidance, and resolution.”

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