Criminal Procedure

You Are Not A Professional Criminal

September 30, 2014 Criminal Procedure

You should not feel bad. Believe me, you are not the first person to be fooled by police into making a statement or doing something else incriminating.  Remember:  They are professionals.  They are good at what they do.  And you are not a professional criminal.  Lots of educated, savvy and sophisticated people have fallen for […]

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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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The “Reverse Line-Up”

May 8, 2014 Criminal Procedure

“The interrogators sometimes are instructed to induce a confession out of trickery . . . In the identification situation, the interrogator may take a break in his questioning to place the subject among a group of men in a line-up.  The witness or complainant (previously coached, if necessary) studies the line-up and confidently points out […]

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Bronx Prosecutor Castigated for Withholding Exculpatory Evidence

April 8, 2014 Criminal Procedure

According to the New York Daily News, a prosecutor in the Bronx failed to turn over exculpatory information to the defense in a rape case.  The evidence in question was an initial statement by the accuser that the sex had been consensual. The statement was not disclosed until after the defendant sat in jail for […]

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Is Concession of Guilt In Opening Statement A Guilty Plea?

January 31, 2014 Criminal Procedure

During the defendant’s opening statement at trial, Denardo Hopkins’ lawyer got up in front of the jury and conceded that this client was guilty of felony drug dealing charges.  The issue the D.C. Court of Appeals faced in Hopkins v. United States, 84 A.3d 62 (D.C. 2014), was this:  Did this admission constitute a guilty […]

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Let Me Talk To The Judge

December 4, 2013 Criminal Procedure

Whenever a group of defendants are lined up before the court to do misdemeanor guilty pleas, one or two will often try to back out at the last minute. If the defendant is quibbling with something the prosecutor has just read from the police report, the parties can usually find common ground on facts that […]

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On the Crucible of Cross-Examination

April 11, 2013 Criminal Procedure

It happens perhaps most often in domestic violence cases that the complainant fails to show up on the morning of trial. The government would have you believe this is because the complainant fears for his/her safety, and this might sometimes be true. More often, it is because the complainant has reconsidered having the lover, spouse, […]

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Young v. U.S.: The Confrontation Clause Is Still Alive In D.C.

April 4, 2013 Criminal Procedure

The U.S. Supreme Court has made such a mess of the Confrontation Clause line of cases that the D.C. Court of Appeals declared today that it really doesn’t know what to do. So it decided to do the right thing instead. In Robert Young v. United States, 63 A.3d 1033 (D.C. 2013), the D.C. Court […]

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Further Guidance on Significant Bodily Injury in Quintanilla v. U.S.

March 25, 2013 Criminal Procedure

The D.C. Court of Appeals took another step last week in defining what up until recently has been a poorly defined term:  the “significant bodily injury” that is required in order for the government to prove felony assault. Although the appellant in Fidel Quintanilla v. United States, 62 A.3d 1261 (D.C. 2013), was convicted of […]

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Haye v. U.S.: Unlawful Entry, Criminal Contempt, Double Jeopardy, and Prior Bad Acts

March 24, 2013 Criminal Procedure

When people talk about evidence being admitted at trial, they tend to think in terms of physical evidence:  guns, drugs, documents, fingerprints, DNA, that type of thing. Sometimes you need to remind them that oral testimony alone – someone getting up on the stand and testifying to what he or she saw – can also […]

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