The difference between a leading and non-leading question

March 10, 2019

“What is your name?”  That is a non-leading question.  Compare that with “Your name is John Smith, isn’t it?” That would be leading.  It basically tells the witness what his answer should be. 

On the true meaning of “tragedy”

March 7, 2019

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. 

Leaving After Colliding in D.C. requires proof of mens rea

March 1, 2019
Proving mens rea in DC

In Crawford v. D.C., the Court of Appeals confirmed that the Leaving After Colliding statute requires the government to prove mens rea.

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

February 28, 2019
revenge porn d.c.

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.”

The difference between “concurrent” and “consecutive” sentences in D.C.

February 12, 2019
concurrent sentences

Concurrent sentences are served simultaneously.  Consecutive sentences are served in sequence (i.e., back-to-back).  One sentence does not begin until the other sentence has concluded. 

“The man who represents himself has a fool for a client”

February 7, 2019
fool for a client

The man standing at the bar of the court is a nicely dressed, middle-aged white guy.  He looks like a lawyer.  That’s because, as it turns out, he IS a lawyer.  He is seeking the court’s permission to represent himself. 

Should I enter into a “CPO without admissions” in D.C.?

February 5, 2019
CPO without admission in D.C.

A person who has been served with a CPO petition in D.C. can enter into a “consent CPO without admissions.” The CPO is granted to the petitioner without a hearing. In exchange, there is no adverse finding of facts against the respondent.

“Nobody read me my rights”

February 1, 2019

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.

Can a witness’s own statement be hearsay?

January 27, 2019

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.

Can hearsay be used to impeach?

January 26, 2019

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.