Judge Easterly Lets The Facts Speak For Themselves In Damning the Government for Brady Violations

August 1, 2014 Evidence

You suspect it happens all the time:  the prosecutor withholds exculpatory information from the defendant, thereby preventing the defendant from mounting an effective defense.  The problem is that, with the government in sole possession of all the information, you have no way of proving it. And then there is Vaughn v. United States, __ A.3d […]

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“Equal Justice Under Law”: Why Alec Karakatsanis Is Not Your Typical Smug, Humorless Public Interest Lawyer

July 30, 2014 D.C. Superior Court

One of the hazards of public interest work is that it seems to contribute to smugness.  I may be underpaid and overworked.  But at least I am doing the Lord’s work.  And that work is more important than anything my higher paid colleagues with more prestigious jobs are doing. I encountered a little bit of […]

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“Observe and Report”: The Duties of Fake Cops

July 24, 2014 Humor

This is what the witness’ duty is.  It is not to “protect and serve” like a regular police officer.  Instead, it is to “observe and report.” The judge isn’t sure she heard this right, and she asks him to repeat it.  He doesn’t flinch.  He obliges. I have some fun with this on cross. So […]

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Who Wants To Be The Last Person Arrested for Possessing An Ounce Of Marijuana In DC?

July 18, 2014 Current Events

With the Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014 having gone into effect yesterday, the Washington Post did an article today discussing the fate of the last few people who were arrested under the old law.  (From now on, possession or transfer without payment of one ounce or less of marijuana will be a civil […]

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The DUI Defense Lawyers Association: A New Challenge to the NCDD

July 16, 2014 DUI and Driving Offenses

I am clueless about the politics. But you know this has to be a really, really bad thing for the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD). Justin McShane hinted that something was up at the most recent meeting of the NCDD in New Orleans when he announced that his presentation that day would be his […]

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Judicial Notice: The Difference Between “Legislative” and “Adjudicative” Facts

July 14, 2014 Evidence

A court accepts a well-known and indisputable fact without taking the time and trouble of requiring a party to prove it.  What could be more straightforward, more commonsensical, than that?  As McCormick puts it, the “oldest and plainest ground for judicial notice is that the fact is so commonly known in the community as to […]

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Wayne LaFave on “Motive”

July 13, 2014 Legal Concepts/Principles

Motive.  It is really big on TV shows.  At the same time, if you listen to Wayne LaFave, it is completely irrelevant when it comes to substantive criminal law:  The government is not required to prove motive in order to secure a conviction. The New Oxford American dictionary defines “motive” as “a reason for doing […]

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Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

July 13, 2014 Legal Concepts/Principles

Translated into English, actus no facit reum nisi mens sit rea means that “an act does not make one guilty unless his mind is guilty.” In other words, it is not enough for the government to prove a physical part of a crime; that is, an act or an omission to act.  The government must […]

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Loser Walking

July 5, 2014 Miscellaneous

Guest Post By Raymond Koehler I have written for my brother’s law blog before and received a nice response. In fact, Jamie said my post got more responses than any of his own posts. One thing you must know about Jamie, or, to use his more professional sounding name, “Jamison,” is that he is the […]

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These Hours Undo Me

July 3, 2014 Miscellaneous

After dinner, my brother joins the younger generation in a game of Ultimate Frisbee. I opt to sit out of the game, joining our mother on the sidelines instead. My brother used to be the organizer. There was not a game played at Cape Cod – a game of Scrabble or Kick the Can or […]

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