Testifying = Snitching?

November 18, 2014 Investigations

The witness refuses to testify. “I am not a snitch,” he tells my investigator Wayne and me. “But we am not asking you to snitch on anyone,” I reply. “We are just asking you to testify. To tell the truth about what you saw. We need your testimony for our defense.” When I was growing […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

What We Talk About On Our Way To A Crime Scene

January 28, 2013 Humor

It turns out that Wayne, my investigator, and I both do the laundry in our households. Apparently, neither one of us has a wife who understands that you cannot put whites in with the colored clothes, set the dial to hot water, and then expect to have the whites coming out like they looked before. […]

Read the full article →

The Gold Standard in Witness Credibility

January 24, 2013 Investigations

My investigator Wayne Marshall gets an A+ for his testimony yesterday at trial. Of course, I am biased. Marshall is everything you could want in a witness: He knows his stuff. He is well-spoken, direct, straight-forward. He answers the questions you ask of him and nothing more. He doesn’t try to anticipate what he thinks […]

Read the full article →

Confronting the Complainant Before Trial

November 24, 2012 Investigations

If you want to get a complainant to speak with you before trial, ask the complainant about his or her injury. People love to talk about how they have been wronged. The floodgate opens. My investigator Wayne and I approach an interview with the complainant as if we are preparing for the Superbowl. After all, […]

Read the full article →

On “Constructive Venting” And Wayne My Investigator

November 6, 2012 D.C. Superior Court

Seth Godin writes about a friend of his, a middle school teacher, who avoided the teacher’s lounge because “he couldn’t bear the badmouthing of students, the whining and the blaming”: Just about every organization, every on-line service, every product and every element of our culture now has chat rooms and forums devoted to a few […]

Read the full article →

Ode to My Investigator

January 21, 2012 Investigations

I botched the investigation. I went to the store on Upper Wisconsin Avenue in which my client was alleged to have committed a robbery.  While there, I neglected to look for a critical piece of evidence:  whether or not there was a surveillance camera over the cash register.  As a result, my investigator Wayne Marshall […]

Read the full article →

On Hoopties and Shell Stations: The Benefits of Visiting a Crime Scene

July 22, 2011 Investigations

Yet another benefit to private practice – as opposed to being a public defender – is that you have more time for investigations. Wayne, my investigator, actually handles most of my on-scene investigations.  As a former cop, he knows what he is doing. He has a great way with clients and witnesses. He also knows […]

Read the full article →

On Working With An Investigator

February 26, 2011 Investigations

One of the frustrations of being a public defender was the need to deal with sometimes unrealistic expectations.  You don’t always value what you don’t pay for, and clients would sometimes have unrealistic expectations about what an investigator could accomplish on their behalf. “I’m sure the whole thing was captured by one of those video […]

Read the full article →