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.

Joining the Adult CJA Panel in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, D.C. Superior Court, Juveniles, Law Practice

I have just been appointed to the D.C. Superior Court panel for adult court-appointed cases. I was one of three lawyers appointed on a “provisional” basis. (Three other lawyers were promoted from the provisional panel to the full panel.) Those of us on the provisional panel need to serve a two-year probationary period before we can start doing felonies. To …

Effective <--->  Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, Trial Advocacy

I am doing a court-appointed criminal appeal, and I am cranky with the defense lawyer who tried the case. He won’t return my phone calls. He won’t send me the trial file. I have no idea why he appealed. And I find, upon reviewing the trial transcript, that he messed up the one potential area for reasonable doubt by asking …

Solo Practitioners Don’t Have A Jackie Frankfurt

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, D.C. Superior Court, Law Practice

We had a tremendous support network at the public defender’s office in Philadelphia. There were social workers and mental health professionals. There were administrative staff focusing on probation, parole, and the expungement of criminal records. If you had a question about a particular point of law or opinion, there was a whole group of appellate lawyers at your disposal. And …

Eliminate Adverbs. Improve Your Writing.

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice

We all have our pet peeves when it comes to the English language. I had an English teacher in college who offered a $1 million reward to anyone who could find a single instance in which use of the word “utilization” would be preferable to “use.”  As far as I know, this reward is still unpaid. I had a boss …

On the Satisfaction of Doing Criminal Appeals

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice

During the second semester of my senior year in college, I submitted a paper for my English class that was three-quarters of a page long. It was my last assignment for a class I was taking pass/fail and I already knew I was going to pass. But I had to turn in something — anything — so that I wouldn’t …

Delivering the News in an Appellate Case

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice

I call my court-appointed client in an appellate case to give him the news. Although I know many things about this man, I have never actually met him.   Up until recently he has been serving time in an out-of-state federal prison.  I didn’t realize he was already home. Nor have I ever spoken to him on the phone:  He thanks …

Using An Ellipsis To Misrepresent Language

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice

You have to be honest with the court.  Your client’s fate depends on it.  So does your reputation.  It is one of the first things we learn in ethics class. MPD General Order 601.02 reads as follows: Members of the Department shall preserve all potentially discoverable material, including any such material, which may prove favorable to an accused. This is …

Ready for DUI/DWI Appeals in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, DUI and Driving Offenses

It is amazing to me there aren’t more appellate DUI/DWI decisions in D.C. Yes, a recent case – Taylor v. District of Columbia – dealt with the legal definition of impairment. Beyond that, however, there are few cases in an area of the law that is in urgent need of reform. Take existing case law on the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test.  …

U.S. Capitol building

PDS Launches Criminal Law Blog

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, Criminal Law Bloggers, D.C. Superior Court, Opinions/Cases

The Public Defender Service (PDS) has just begun a blog — the PDS Criminal Law Blog — that reviews recent D.C. Court of Appeals opinions.  With Samia Fam, Nancy Glass, Jackie Frankfurt, and a handful of other public defenders sharing responsibility for the writing, the blog will certainly have some heavy hitters behind it.  The most recent entry covers Vines …