Baltimore graffiti

On the fumbling hand of counsel

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, Criminal Procedure, Legal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

The brother of my court-appointed client takes me from the courtroom into the hallway to dress me down for a legal decision I just made on his brother’s behalf. The brother cites a legal platitude that, though true, had nothing to do with the decision I just made. “You and I both know I am right on this one,” he …

Lousy plea offers. More trials.

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, D.C. Superior Court, Sentencing, Trial Advocacy

During the pandemic, criminal defense lawyers got spoiled with the favorable plea offers.  With dockets backing up, the government was desperate to resolve cases through non-trial dispositions.  One prosecutor compared it to a “fire sale.” Those times are over. I have noticed this.  My colleagues have noticed this.  And a long-time judge on the felony calendar who knows about these …

Photo of GRU

T.W. and the “jump out” cops in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Opinions/Cases

They are known on the street as the “jump out” cops. They cruise poor parts of town in unmarked cars, one car following the other.  There are 3 or 4 officers in each car.  They pull up and jump out at the slightest hint of criminal activity.  Sometimes they see a suspect walking with a lopsided gait or swinging only …

On searching a car after POCA arrest in Smith v. U.S.

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Opinions/Cases

In Arizona v. Gant, the U.S. Supreme Court held that police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest (and therefore without a warrant) under one of only two scenarios.  The first scenario is that officers have a reasonable belief that the arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search, thereby …