D.C. criminal defense lawyer

Covfefe this

Jamison KoehlerMiscellaneous

People laugh at your jokes when you are in a position of power. They return your phone calls. Our attention-seeking president is in for one rude awakening.

Baltimore graffiti

Unlawful Entry in D.C.: Odumn v. United States

Jamison KoehlerOpinions/Cases, Other Criminal Offenses

According to D.C. Court of Appeals decision in Odumn v. United States, “a landlord may not prohibit a tenant from inviting a third party onto leased premises for a lawful purpose, nor may the landlord prohibit such third party from entering or exiting the property through the property’s common space.”

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

The stupefied police officer

Jamison KoehlerTrial Advocacy

Police officers have all the answers on direct examination. The clarity and animation disappear when it comes time to answer questions from the defense.

D.C. criminal defense attorney

Judges are human

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

The judge does not say: I am not willing to take your word for this, and I need to have a law clerk check this out. What he says instead: It is time for lunch. We will pass this matter until 2:00 pm.

Graffiti used to demonstrate expungements from a D.C. criminal defense attorney

Dealing with the crazies in C10

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, D.C. Superior Court

With almost 100 people making their way through arraignment court every day, it is inevitable that there will be a melt-down or two. After all, we are dealing with people who are finishing what for many of them will be the worst day of their lives.

D.C. criminal defense attorney

Truth=good. Lie=bad.

Jamison KoehlerDomestic Violence, Trial Advocacy

Complaining witnesses lie on the stand. This never ceases to amaze me. They could be telling the absolute truth about events that led to the criminal prosecution. But when they get on the stand and they are challenged on details during cross-examination, they abandon the truth.

Washington Monument

The city belongs to the two of us

Jamison KoehlerMiscellaneous

Thirty-five years ago, my wife would take a break from her law school studies to join me in the tiny bedroom of our apartment to watch a half hour of TV before bed. The world seemed so big back then; our concerns in retrospect so small.

Baltimore graffiti

Unlawful entry charge dismissed

Jamison KoehlerOpinions/Cases

According to recent D.C. Court of Appeals opinion, Foster v. United States, D.C. Housing Authority residents cannot be barred from accessing areas covered by their leases.

D.C. criminal defense attorney

I try cases

Jamison KoehlerLaw Practice, Trial Advocacy

I have taken 63 cases to trial since 2015. I have secured outright acquittals in 23 of these cases – roughly 37 % – and partial acquittals in an additional 8.

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

Dealing with Stuart Schuman of the Defender Association

Jamison KoehlerLaw Practice

Different people require different motivations.  Schuman’s approach may have worked with some people.  But it didn’t work with me:  I was already trying as hard as I could.  I didn’t need to be shamed into working harder.  

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

“Imani is my best friend”

Jamison KoehlerInvestigations

The best strategy, I have found, is to begin the conversation with an expression of concern about whatever grievance it was that launched the criminal proceedings to begin with.

D.C. criminal defense attorney

Hearsay through the eyes of our law student

Jamison KoehlerEvidence

When it comes to hearsay, there is only one phrase you need to keep in mind: Hearsay is an out-of-court assertion offered for the truth. If it doesn’t satisfy that definition, it is not hearsay.

Marijuana conviction in DC - graffiti on wall

Eavesdropping on Michael Jackson

Jamison KoehlerMiscellaneous

Jackson spoke with three separate women, and he was a different person depending on which of the women he was on the phone with. He had phone sex with one woman.

D.C. criminal defense attorney

“You do not know how to read a Google Map?”

Jamison KoehlerTrial Advocacy

Q:        So you followed him back to his house? A:         I didn’t follow him.  I was on my way to my mother’s house.  She lives in that area.   Q:        You told police that your mother lives on B Street, right? THE COURT:    Is that Northeast, Southeast –  DEFENSE COUNSEL:    — You told police that your mother lives on B Street, Southeast.  Right? A:         I don’t remember what I told …

Mike kissing Heather

Mike knew we loved him

Jamison KoehlerMiscellaneous

Mike O’Neill of “Mike and Heather” has died. We drive up to the wake in Lansford, Pennsylvania. It is reassuring to see Heather and their four adult children.

assault graffiti in dc

Is spitting on someone simple assault in D.C.?

Jamison KoehlerAssault

Spitting on someone would satisfy the definition of an “offensive touching” provided that the government could prove that the defendant’s actions were intentional and not by mistake or accident.

civil protection order graffiti

Can a CPO be denied?

Jamison KoehlerDomestic Violence

The court may not have “jurisdiction” (i.e., power) to issue the order. Or the court may decide, after holding a hearing, that there is not “good cause” to believe a crime was committed.

dc capitol

“This is great. We’ll take it.”

Jamison KoehlerMiscellaneous

My wife and I have gone full circle. We started off our lives together in a small rental apartment in D.C. Three kids, four cities, six houses and a lifetime later, we are now back in a small rental apartment in D.C.

PDS appeals

PDS offers help with criminal appeals

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice

I am sitting with Jimmy Klein and Alice Wang in Klein’s office on the third floor of 633 Indiana Avenue, NW. Samia Fam and Jackie Frankfurter stopped in earlier. This is the dream team of appellate lawyers in D.C. and they are all offering input on an appellate brief I have been struggling with.

A Farewell to Tolo

Jamison KoehlerMiscellaneous

We were not the first tourists to visit the village of Tolo. But we were the first foreign family to spend a significant amount of time there — almost a year in 1972 followed by multiple summers. And with seven of us in the family, including five children, it was inevitable we would make a lot of friends.   Forty-seven years …

Can I expunge a criminal record for simple assault?

Jamison KoehlerAssault, Criminal Procedure

A criminal record for simple assault in D.C. can be sealed either immediately on the grounds of actual innocence or after two years in the interests of justice.  A conviction for simple assault can be sealed after eight years. Expunging/sealing an arrest for simple assault There are two different ways to expunge/seal an arrest for simple assault.  The first way is …

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

Patience. Not drama.

Jamison KoehlerTrial Advocacy

At a recent trial, I called my client’s mother as our only witness.  I regretted this almost immediately. We had interviewed her. We had subpoenaed her. We had prepared her. And I should have left her sitting in the hall outside the courtroom as I rested my case.

expunge felony in dc

Can you seal/expunge a felony?

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, D.C. Superior Court

The first option for sealing a felony arrest in D.C. would be to file a motion immediately on the grounds of actual innocence under D.C. Code § 16-802.  The second option would be to wait two years to file it under D.C. Code § 16-803. 

On “skyscraper pages” and Google

Jamison KoehlerSocial Media and Technology

Tyler tells me to be patient. A couple of months ago I complained about how my Google rankings have tanked, and Tyler Suchman – my website guy from Tribalcore– has been working with me to try to reverse the trend. 

On the true meaning of “tragedy”

Jamison KoehlerTrial Advocacy

A man is charged with soliciting a prostitute.  He is a Lyft driver who, on the night in question, drops off a customer in D.C.  A female undercover officer approaches the car while he is pulled over.  What happens next is contested. 

revenge porn d.c.

Analyzing D.C.’s “Revenge Porn” Statute

Jamison KoehlerOther Criminal Offenses

In enacting the statute to criminalize the behavior commonly known as “revenge porn,” the D.C. City Council created “three separate offenses aimed at capturing the three primary forms of non-consensual pornography: (1) unlawful disclosure; (2) first degree unlawful publication; and (3) second degree unlawful publication.”

“Nobody read me my rights”

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure

When are police required to read you your rights? The answer actually is never.  That is, not unless the suspect is in custody and is being subjected to interrogation (hence the term “custodial interrogation”) and only then if police want to use the statements against him in court.

U.S. Capitol Building

Can a witness’s own statement be hearsay?

Jamison KoehlerEvidence

Yes.  If a witness testifying at trial made a prior statement that a party would like to introduce and that statement was intended as an assertion and is now being offered as substantive evidence to prove the truth of the matter, then the statement would still be hearsay.  It is immaterial whether or not the witness is present in court to be cross-examined with respect to the earlier statement.

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

Can hearsay be used to impeach?

Jamison KoehlerEvidence

Whether or not an out-of-court statement is hearsay depends on the purpose for which it is offered.  If it is offered to prove the truth of the matter, it is hearsay.  If offered only to impeach (i.e., discredit) a witness, then it is by definition not hearsay. 

graffiti hearsay

Are depositions hearsay?

Jamison KoehlerEvidence

A deposition is a witness’s out-of-court testimony that is reduced to writing (usually by a court reporter) for discovery purposes or for later use in court. As such, it would appear to be quintessential hearsay (i.e., an out-of-court declaration that is asserted for the truth of the matter) and would only be admissible if (1) it were offered for a non-hearsay purpose or (2) it satisfied the “prior recorded testimony” or some other exception to the hearsay rule. 

Is a receipt hearsay?

Jamison KoehlerEvidence

Whether a receipt constitutes hearsay would depend on the purpose for which it is being offered.  If it is being used to prove the value of an item, it would be hearsay.

Court-appointed lawyers do not get paid more for a plea

Jamison KoehlerSentencing

I have worked with this particular court-appointed client now on a number of cases, and I guess he is beginning to feel more comfortable with me.  “Give it to me straight, Mr. Koehler,” he says to me over the phone.  “You get paid more money if I cop to a plea on this case, don’t you?”

Baltimore graffiti

Can Silence Be Hearsay?

Jamison KoehlerEvidence

There might circumstances in which a person’s silence could be interpreted to communicate something.  For example, silence in response to the traditional challenge “speak now or forever hold your peace” during a wedding ceremony could be interpreted to communicate assent. If offered to prove that the “declarant” endorsed the union, it could constitute hearsay, thereby requiring the proponent of the evidence to introduce it through an exception to the hearsay rule.