Owens v. United States: The Standard for Defining State-of-Mind in an RSP Case is a Subjective One

June 6, 2014 Opinions/Cases

In law school, we learned the difference between a subjective standard in defining a mental state and an objective one. The subjective standard focuses on the defendant’s actual state of mind. With the objective standard, it is how a reasonable person in the same position would feel. Most criminal statutes seem to use the objective […]

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On Petty Thefts and Grievances: Why My Faith In Humanity Has Been Destroyed

August 27, 2011 Theft/Fraud

Reason #1:  It’s Thursday, and we are expecting a big rainstorm.  I remember to bring my umbrella – a very distinctive umbrella with blue and white stripes – and I leave it in plain view in the lawyer’s lounge of D.C. Superior Court.  After all, the only people allowed into the lounge are my colleagues, […]

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A Very Polite Robber

February 10, 2011 Theft/Fraud

Mark Pryor of D.A. Confidential says he must have been the last person in the world to have seen this video on YouTube. He’d better make that second-to-last person. I hadn’t seen it either.

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Takoma Park Bank Robber Identified

February 1, 2011 Theft/Fraud

Police have released the name of the man who was shot on Friday after he robbed a bank in Takoma Park, Maryland and then tried to escape with a bank teller as his hostage. The man has been identified as 43-year-old Carlos R.E. Arcia of Hyattsville. According to the Washington Post, the police had not been […]

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Extortion in D.C. and Virginia: An Endangered Criminal Offense?

November 16, 2010 Assault

Extortion is one of my favorite crimes, a fact which, I have to admit, is usually not much consolation to the person who gets me on the phone worried that he/she may be charged with it.  At the same time, however interesting the offense may be, you rarely come across it in practice. A former […]

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On Embezzlement and Larceny By False Pretenses: Why I Love the Theft Crimes in Virginia

November 1, 2010 Theft/Fraud

How can you not love the theft crimes in Virginia? While most jurisdictions have combined theft offenses into a single catch-all category, Virginia continues to maintain the common law distinctions between larceny, embezzlement and larceny by false pretenses. This means that the government cannot simply charge “theft” and then make out any form of theft […]

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Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in D.C.: Man Masquerades as Metro Bus Driver

July 12, 2010 Theft/Fraud

According to the Washington Post, a 19-year-old man wearing a Metro bus driver’s uniform walked into the Bladensburg bus garage, got into a bus, and drove away. But instead of making off with the bus, the man drove the correct B2 route, picking up passengers along the way. It wasn’t until he crashed the bus […]

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Shoplifting in Washington, D.C.

November 23, 2009 Theft/Fraud

In 2001, the actress Winona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting $5,500 worth of goods from a store in Beverly Hills.  As captured on the store’s surveillance tape, Ms. Ryder went into a Saks Fifth Avenue store and stuffed a number of garments into empty shopping bags.  Ms. Ryder then walked out of the store and […]

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The Difference Between Robbery and Burglary in D.C.

November 11, 2009 Assault

How many times have you heard someone complain that he or she has been robbed?  A person returns home from vacation and finds a backdoor broken and a computer missing.  Oh my goodness, dear, we’ve been robbed!  A wallet is taken from a gym locker.  Someone robbed my wallet! Technically, the people have not been […]

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The Vermeer and Modigliani Frauds

October 30, 2009 Theft/Fraud

In researching forgery and fraud laws in Washington, D.C., I was reminded of two of my favorite stories.  I tell the stories now not just because I find them entertaining, but also because I think they illustrate the differences between the modern day criminal offenses of forgery and fraud, at least as the two offenses […]

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