January 29, 2015 Juveniles

My client’s grandmother stands next to me at the bar of the court.  She complains to me about the probation officer, about the education attorney, about the prosecutor, and about the judge.  I am sure that when I am not there, she is complaining about me too. The entire system has failed her grandson. My […]

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Everything is Calm. Everything is Civilized.

December 11, 2014 Juveniles

The two young men have been in the same place at the same time before.  I have seen it on the video recording. The first meeting – captured by a surveillance camera at the back of a D.C. metro bus — – involved a violent altercation in which they exchanged blows.  The kid getting the […]

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Thank You For Your Vote Of Confidence

October 9, 2014 Juveniles

Dear Juvenile Client: You must think I am one really, really good lawyer. Why else would you violate every condition of your pre-trial probation — knowing that this would result in your being locked up until forever — unless you were absolutely convinced that I was going to beat the case? You are the boss. […]

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The Government Wins Every Time

June 9, 2014 Juveniles

Years ago I went to the Playland amusement park in Rye, New York with some friends. We were walking by the “Guess Your Age or Weight” booth when I noticed that the proprietor had stepped out, temporarily turning the business over to his daughter. This will be easy, I thought. There is no way this […]

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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 […]

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Why Juvenile Cases Should Be Tried

January 7, 2014 Juveniles

When I was a public defender, a major challenge was the client with a lousy case and a good offer on the table who nevertheless insisted on taking his case to trial.  He didn’t trust his lawyer to provide good legal advice.  And he often had some zany idea about what he thought was going […]

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He is 12 Years Old

January 24, 2013 Juveniles

As soon as I have the signed order in hand, I head to the “at-risk” cell block to make sure my client is released. My client’s mother, waiting in the hallway, is mad at me. She thinks her son is out-of-control and needs to be locked up, and we have been working at cross-purposes throughout […]

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“My Lawyer Told Me Not To Talk To Anyone About This Case”

November 8, 2012 Juveniles

One of the reasons I accept court appointments in juvenile cases – but not adult cases – is that the juveniles generally listen to you.  Even then, you can’t always take that for granted. It was thus very gratifying to read the following exchange described in a psychiatric evaluation for a juvenile client. When the […]

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Awareness Campaign for Juvenile Justice Issues in D.C.

October 20, 2012 Juveniles

One of the cardinal rules in environmental protection is that it is far more expensive to clean up an environmental problem after it has happened than it is to prevent the pollution from happening in the first place.  The same principle applies to “youth justice issues” in the District of Columbia. According to D.C. Lawyers […]

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A Guilty Plea at D.C. Superior Court

September 18, 2012 D.C. Superior Court

Guest Post by Emma Brush A visit to Arlington was the occasion for this undeserved opportunity of mine to post.  Originally, my Uncle Jamie had a jury trial scheduled. Knowing that I was considering law school, he thought it would be fun for me to see. Unfortunately, the court date was postponed.  Fortunately, he had […]

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