Debunking Popular Myths About The U.S. Criminal Justice System

With thanks to both Don Ramsell and Rick Horowitz for the heads up, Cracked.Com has done a humorous but informative piece debunking popular myths perpetuated by T.V. and the movies about the U.S. criminal justice system. Below is… Read More

On the Tyranny of Court Personnel

Although Philadelphia is famous for the corruption within its government and police force, my wife and I were still taken aback to encounter it in person upon moving to the city in 2002.  I, for example, was surprised… Read More

Arraignment in D.C. Superior Court

The arraignment is usually the first court appearance for a criminal defendant in Washington, D.C. and, as such, tends to cause particular anxiety for clients. Do I need a lawyer at the arraignment? What do I say? Should… Read More

The “No Papering” of a Criminal Offense in Washington, DC

If you have had the misfortune of being arrested in Washington, D.C, the words “no paper” should be about the most welcome thing you can hear. The two words could mean that the prosecution has decided that you… Read More

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