American flag

Tardy Prosecutors, Gutsy Judges

Jamison KoehlerLaw Practice, Trial Advocacy


Judge Milton Lee of D.C. Superior Court takes the bench at 9:00 am. Promptly. Every morning. Without fail.

One of my biggest complaints about the Office of the Attorney General in D.C. is that its prosecutors often waltz into court well after 9:00 am every morning, usually minutes before the judge takes the bench.

This can make life difficult for defense lawyers.  Your case is often called before you have had a chance to talk to the prosecutor.  At best, you find yourself trying to get the harried prosecutor’s attention during the call of the list.

This morning I was surprised to have my robbery case called for status before the prosecutor had arrived.  No government representative, the judge asked?  Case dismissed.

The mother of my client hugged me afterward in the hall.  It was the first time I have ever seen her smile.  I had to tell her I hadn’t done a thing.  She should really be thanking the prosecutor for failing to appear.  She should be thanking the judge for having the guts to throw the case out.

I am thinking the judge was sending a message.  I am thinking this message has been received.  And I pray that they don’t re-arrest.