Saidi v. U.S.: No Special Findings in Defense-of-Property Case

You are allowed to use a reasonable amount of force to protect property.  This is true “regardless of any actual or threatened injury to the property by the trespasser.”  Moreover, upon timely request with sufficient clarity for special… Read More

I Thought You Might Try Harder If You Thought I Was Innocent

When you go to a doctor for treatment, do you omit a critical piece of information about what is ailing you? Of course not.  The doctor’s diagnosis will only be as good as the information it is based… Read More

When it Comes To Self-Defense, it is the Immediacy of the Response Needed, Not the Immediacy of the Threat

Words in the law do not always mean what their dictionary definitions say they mean. With respect to a prior consistent statement, for example, it is not really, as suggested by the rule, that such a statement must… Read More

Lee v. United States: Mistaken Jury Instructions on the “Defense of Others”

The D.C. Court of Appeals was apparently feeling charitable. In Adrian Lee v. United States, 61 A.3d 655 (D.C. 2013), a decision issued last week, the Court bent over backwards to justify and explain mistaken jury instructions issued… Read More

Entrapment in D.C.: The Legality of Recent Decoy Operations

Your client is heading home, minding his own business, when he comes across what appears to be a homeless man sleeping on a bench at the metro station. Sticking out of the man’s coat pocket is a shiny… Read More

Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle: Applying the Notion of a “Grace Period”

The judge doesn’t like my idea of a “grace period.”  In fact, he chuckles when I propose it:  “I have never seen any case law on that,” he says. I was not trying to be funny. My client… Read More

On the Criminal Defenses of “Justification” and “Excuse”

How can you not love the criminal defenses? With the government burdened with proving every element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt, one criminal defense strategy is to challenge the identity of the perpetrator. Yes, says the… Read More

The Criminal Defense of “Mere Presence”

Assuming you did nothing to encourage or instigate the activity, there is nothing illegal about being present during the commission of a crime. There is also no duty, upon coming across a crime in progress, to prevent that… Read More

Innocent Possession of a Firearm in D.C.

It is a story I have heard many times, or at least some version of it:  The defendant is walking through a playground when he notices a firearm lying by the jungle gym.  The defendant picks up the… Read More

On Ashe v. Swenson: Double Jeopardy and Collateral Estoppel

Many laypersons suffer from misconceptions about the protections offered by the Double Jeopardy Clause contained in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. As Blonde Justice pointed out in one of her funnier posts, for example, double jeopardy does not… Read More