Body Worn Cameras in D.C.: Watching Events Through the Eyes of Police

On the morning of trial, I stick my head into the small room outside the courtroom where the police officers are assembled. I have spent hours watching and indexing footage from the body worn cameras three of the… Read More

The Pros and Cons of Introducing Character Evidence in D.C.

When I started my practice in 2009, I asked an old-timer – somebody who had been practicing in D.C. for over 25 years – how to introduce character evidence in D.C.   I have no idea, he replied. Because… Read More

Mayhand v. U.S.: “A Statement is Not an Excited Utterance Unless the Declarant is Manifestly Overcome by Excitement or in Shock.”

D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Catharine Easterly writes what I think. The difference is that she finds the words that elude me. And the words she writes impact D.C. law. Her impact continues in Antoine Mayhand v. United… Read More

Koonce v. D.C.: Stationhouse Videos in DUI/OWI Cases Are Discoverable

And sometimes the D.C. Court of Appeals gets it just right. For years, the Office of the Attorney General in D.C. has argued that stationhouse videos of suspects in DUI/DWI cases are not “discoverable”; that is, that they… Read More

Police Officer as Expert at DMV Hearing

Q:  You are certified to administer the standardized field sobriety tests? A:  Yes. Q:  So you are familiar with the science behind the standardized field sobriety tests? A:  Yes. Q:  And you are aware that the tests have… Read More

Refreshing Recollection at a DMV Hearing

DEFENSE COUNSEL:  Objection. HEARING EXAMINER:  Basis? DEFENSE COUNSEL:  I would ask that the officer testify from memory and not read from his report. HEARING EXAMINER:  Officer, are you testifying from memory or are you using the report to… Read More

Worthy v. United States: The DCCA on Prior Consistent Statements

Just because you repeat something over and over does not make it true.  Nor are you permitted to “bolster” your own witness. A “prior consistent statement” – a witness’ previous statement that is consistent with something the witness… Read More

Judge Easterly Lets The Facts Speak For Themselves In Damning the Government for Brady Violations

You suspect it happens all the time:  the prosecutor withholds exculpatory information from the defendant, thereby preventing the defendant from mounting an effective defense.  The problem is that, with the government in sole possession of all the information,… Read More

Judicial Notice: The Difference Between “Legislative” and “Adjudicative” Facts

A court accepts a well-known and indisputable fact without taking the time and trouble of requiring a party to prove it.  What could be more straightforward, more commonsensical, than that?  As McCormick puts it, the “oldest and plainest… Read More

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

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, 92 A.3d 328 (D.C. 2014)…. Read More