On character and grace

January 4, 2021
Trump at Resolute Desk

Donald Trump’s problems go beyond a lack of manners or character. He is also a sociopath. He does not learn. He has no shame. He is driven only by immediate self-interest.

On the “missing evidence” jury instruction in Howard v. US

December 20, 2020
DC Court of Appeals

Like “reading the white space” on a police report (that is, focusing on what is NOT included), the “missing evidence” jury instruction “essentially creates evidence from non-evidence.”

Violation of BWC policy –> case dismissed

December 18, 2020
Body worn camera

Body worn cameras have forever changed criminal prosecutions. On balance, I think they help the defense. No longer do we need to simply take the officer’s word on things.

D.C. Superior Court’s remote and partially remote courtrooms

December 15, 2020
D.C. Superior Court Sign - Where to Pay Fees

The D.C. Superior Court Criminal Division has increased the number of courtrooms — both remote and partially remote — that will operate during the pandemic.

A Classicist’s Take on “Trump as Tragic Hero”

December 14, 2020

Guest Post by Raymond Koehler on “Trump as Tragic Hero”

Getting the rules of evidence wrong in HBO’s “The Undoing”

December 11, 2020
Nicole Kidman on witness stand

It can’t be much fun to watch a legal drama on TV with my wife and me. We understand the need to keep the story moving. But you need to get certain basics correct.

Will I go to jail for shoplifting in D.C.?

D.C. graffiti

It is extremely unlikely that anyone but the most habitual offender will serve jail time for shoplifting in D.C. This is particularly true during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mandatory vs. statutory minimum sentences

December 4, 2020
D.C. criminal defense attorney

Both mandatory and statutory minimum sentences set a term of imprisonment that must be imposed. The difference is that a statutory minimum sentence can be suspended.

Trump as tragic hero

December 3, 2020

Like Oedipus, the classic tragic hero who was felled by his excessive pride and self-righteousness, Trump has been done in by his own personal failings. I am convinced, for example, that but for the fallout from Trump’s narcissism, he would have gone down in history as a successful two-term president.

“Touching” versus “feeling” in Augustin v. United States

November 15, 2020
D.C. Court of Appeals foyer

For purposes of the misdemeanor sexual assault of minors statute, the D.C. Court of Appeals refused to limit the definition of “touch” to the act of “feeling” with one’s tactile senses — through, for example, the use of one’s fingers, hands, genitals or other sensory organs.