3L Ashton Tucker Shares What it’s Like to Win Her First Jury Trial
Working at the City of Cincinnati’s Prosecutor’s Office has been the most rewarding experience of my law school career. This is especially true after I received my limited license in July. When my office asked me to try a case to a jury, I jumped at the chance. Not only is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a law student, I’d also had a number of near misses – missed opportunities to work on a jury trial due to last minute plea deals and other unforeseen reasons. It felt like a great honor to be asked; that they would trust me with such immense responsibility was humbling. My supervisor (another Cincinnati Law grad, Chris Liu) handed me the file, promised me we’d try the case together (I still have to be supervised, naturally), and sent me on my way.
Of course, reality set in soon. I was terrified. I’d had bench trials before, but the stakes are higher with a jury. You have to make eight people believe in your theory – in your interpretation of the facts. I’m a third-year law student and only two semesters removed from a Criminal Procedure class. What do I even know about the law anyway?
Well, the truth is, I knew more than I thought. I knew that preparation was key and so, I spent two days coming up with questions for direct examination. I knew from first year Advocacy not to read from a script, but instead, to remember an outline and speak authoritatively – even when your hands are shaking. I learned how and when to object from Evidence.
In the end, it was what I learned at Cincinnati Law that helped me win over the jury and get a conviction.