A Conflict of Interest for D.C. Superior Court Judges

Yesterday’s testimony of D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Janet Albert as a witness in a criminal case against her former girlfriend raises challenges for everyone involved.  A number of D.C. judges, including Lynn Leibovitz, refused to hear the… Read More

Celebrating “Legal Technicalities”

In “Reconfiguring Terms,” legal blogger Gideon complains about the widespread use of  the phrase “legal technicality” to explain why a particular criminal case was dismissed.  Writes Gideon:  “It really grinds my gears when I hear lay people …. Read More

A Public Apology in a Criminal Case

In a blog entry entitled “Victims Speaking Out,” D.A. Confidential describes the cathartic effect allocutions can have for the victims of a crime.  “Allocution” refers to the dialogue between a judge and a defendant prior to sentencing.  Allocution… Read More

Miranda Rights and the Christmas Day Bomber

The client was so excited he could hardly contain himself when he came into my office.  “We’ve got this case beat,” he told me.  Why is that?  “Simple,” he said.  “The police never read me my rights.” The… Read More

The “Jury Trial Tax”: The Penalty for Insisting on a Jury Trial

It is a sad but well-known fact among criminal defense lawyers in many jurisdictions that if you insist on a jury trial and lose, you will get a stiffer penalty than if you lose the same case in… Read More

“Discovery” in a D.C. Superior Court Criminal Case

Courtroom surprises make for great drama on T.V. and in the movies.  The defense lawyer produces a new piece of evidence or the witness makes a startling admission on the witness stand.  The case is broken, and justice… Read More

Drugs: Judge or Jury Trial

Sometimes, after the pre-trial motions have been litigated and any plea bargaining negotiations have been concluded, a defendant needs to have his or her day in court. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial for… Read More

Drugs: Admissibility of Statements

Many people assume that if the police did not read the defendant his or her Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent,” etc.) during any phase of police investigation, the whole case will be thrown out…. Read More

Drugs: Search Warrants and Pedestrian/Car Stops

One key to successfully defending drug cases is to keep out as much evidence as possible from the prosecution’s case at trial. Trials are basically a struggle between the two sides as to what evidence comes in and… Read More