Williams v. U.S.: Brandishing Knife in Self-Defense Not Excessive

June 8, 2014 Opinions/Cases

You have the right to use a reasonable amount of force in self-defense assuming that (1) you actually believe that you are in imminent danger of bodily harm and (2) you have reasonable grounds for that belief. The question is not whether the use of force appeared to be necessary when looking back on the […]

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Holmes v. United States: Video-Assisted Testimony Not Hearsay

June 6, 2014 Evidence

It was a creative argument.  But, not seeing it go very far, I was frankly surprised that the D.C. Court of Appeals devoted an entire opinion to it in Holmes v. United States, __ A.3d __ (D.C. 2014). Marvin Holmes was convicted of stealing two shirts from the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Friendship Heights. […]

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Owens v. United States: The Standard for Defining State-of-Mind in an RSP Case is a Subjective One

June 6, 2014 Opinions/Cases

In law school, we learned the difference between a subjective standard in defining a mental state and an objective one. The subjective standard focuses on the defendant’s actual state of mind. With the objective standard, it is how a reasonable person in the same position would feel. Most criminal statutes seem to use the objective […]

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A Quadrilateral Named Bob

June 6, 2014 Humor
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My Client Is Going Home Today

June 5, 2014 Investigations

My client – a juvenile — is going home today. I am working with one of my favorite prosecutors on the case. Although hard-line, she is straightforward and ethical. There is no hiding-the-ball with her.  She has a light touch. She also has a good sense of humor. The prosecutor waits until I have checked […]

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Second Amendment Scoreboard

June 3, 2014 Firearms/Weapons
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Overheard on Twitter

June 2, 2014 Humor

@lisawade:  I bought three bottles of booze at the liquor store tonight and the cashier asked me: “To go?” @greatfox44: I am the second best boxer in my neighborhood.  I always finish second in every fight. @book_krazy: I bought my Twitter Crush a St. Bernard because my head barley fits through the doggy-door he has […]

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Jacobs v. United States: Narrowing the Definition of “Seizure” in D.C.

May 31, 2014 Legal Concepts/Principles

You are sitting in a legally parked car on the side of the road minding your own business when a police car pulls in directly behind you and activates its overhead lights. How many people would feel that they were perfectly free to drive away at this point?  Anybody?  Anybody at all? Because this is […]

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With Significant Drop in Crime, D.C. Reduces Size of CJA Panel

May 24, 2014 D.C. Superior Court

The list is finally out. D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Morin announced last fall that the panel of attorneys who are approved to represent indigent criminal defendants would be reconstituted. Everyone was required to re-apply. And, with the number of criminal cases down 25% since 2008, Judge Morin warned that there would be major cuts. […]

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What Must You Disclose After Having Your Criminal Record Sealed in D.C.?

May 16, 2014 Criminal Procedure

One of the questions I often get in connection with the sealing of a criminal record in D.C. is this:  What must the person disclose about his or her record after that record has been successfully sealed? The lawyerly answer to that question, of course, is that it depends. If the record was sealed on […]

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