Assault

Cheek v. U.S.: Interpreting the “Interfere” Language of D.C.’s APO Statute

November 20, 2014 Assault

The Assault on a Police Officer (APO) statute is so broad that the D.C. Court of Appeals has had to issue multiple opinions to interpret it.  In Edwin Cheek v. United States, an opinion it issued today, it interpreted that portion of the law that makes it illegal to “interfere” with a police officer while […]

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Attempted Battery Assault in D.C. is a “Specific Intent” Offense

December 5, 2012 Assault

In law school and in preparing for the Bar Exam, we were taught the distinction between general intent and specific intent crimes. If it is a general intent offense, the government must prove only that the defendant intended to take the physical action that resulted in the harm; that is, that the defendant’s actions were […]

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On Getting Your Own Witness Locked Up

November 19, 2012 Assault

I put our star witness in jail. I have heard about prosecutors being slammed for doing this. One of my adjunct professors in law school – a prosecutor in Philadelphia – ended up on someone’s list of the top ten worst prosecutors in the country for having one of her witnesses in a murder case […]

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Lawsuit Alleges Church Cover-Up of Child Sexual Abuse

October 17, 2012 Assault

“No institution can put its own financial concerns above the needs of vulnerable children.” So says my wife Susan Burke, as reported by the Associated Press, in connection with a lawsuit she filed today in Maryland state court.  The lawsuit charges Sovereign Grace Ministries, an evangelical church with 100 congregations in 21 countries, with covering […]

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Defendant Punches Public Defender At Sentencing

October 8, 2012 Assault

I have read that the person who is most likely to be the victim of violence in the courtroom is not the judge or prosecutor, as you might expect, but the defendant’s own attorney. Judges and prosecutors are often viewed as just doing their job, and when things do not turn out as defendants expected, […]

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New Lawsuit Alleging Military Rape Filed in Federal Court

September 29, 2012 Assault

The Associated Press reported on the lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in San Francisco alleging that current and former members of the U.S. military were sexually assaulted while serving: The 20 women and men filing the lawsuit claim they were harassed, raped or assaulted and suffered retaliation when they reported the incidents. The lawsuit […]

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NBC Segment on Military Rape

September 28, 2012 Assault

NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams” ran a segment last night on the most recent cases to be filed in federal court alleging rape in the military. Susan makes an appearance at 7:40. Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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“I Need To Have This Man Out Of My House”

September 15, 2012 Assault

The prosecutor is surprised when you introduce the 911 call.  So is the judge. But the police officer’s description of the hysterical, hyperventilating woman who greets him at the door of her home does not match the angry and determined voice on the phone:   “I need to have this man out of my house,” the […]

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Empathizing with the Accuser at a Civil Protection Order Hearing

November 24, 2011 Assault

“Oh,” says the witness to the judge.  “There is one other thing I would like to say.” The witness is the father of the respondent in a civil protection order hearing.  He is an old man and he is angry.  The judge has given him tremendous latitude in testifying about every complaint he has ever […]

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“A Surprisingly Good Day in Court” for Cioca v. Rumsfeld

November 21, 2011 Assault

Over at the Daily Beast, Jessie Ellison describes three signs that the military might finally be forced to  “confront its rape epidemic.”  First, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced on Friday that he will issue “very direct guidance” in the coming months to reduce sexual assault in the military.  Second, a new bill introduced by […]

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