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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Pinning Down An Elusive Cop On Cross-Examination

June 24, 2014 Trial Advocacy

Q:            You testified on direct that the defendant approached you. A:            Define when you say approach. Q:            I am sorry? A:            Define what you mean when you say approach. Q:            Officer.  Unless I am mistaken, it was you who used the word approach.  On direct.  Am I wrong about that? A:            No.  No, I guess, […]

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The Government Wins Every Time

June 9, 2014 Juveniles

Years ago I went to the Playland amusement park in Rye, New York with some friends. We were walking by the “Guess Your Age or Weight” booth when I noticed that the proprietor had stepped out, temporarily turning the business over to his daughter. This will be easy, I thought. There is no way this […]

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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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