California v. Hodari D: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Complaint

California v. Hodari D, 499 U.S. 621 (1991), is a lousy opinion. It used to be that a person was seized for Fourth Amendment purposes the moment his or her liberty was “restrained” by “some physical force or… Read More

SCOTUS on Flight: Alberty v. United States

“[I]t is a matter of common knowledge that men who are entirely innocent do sometimes fly from the scene of a crime through fear of being apprehended as the guilty parties, or from an unwillingness to appear as… Read More

“Jejomar Untalan Was On The Brief For Appellant”

You never want to find your name on the wrong side of the “v.” As in: United States v. [Your Name Here]. If it is a criminal case, it means that you have been charged with a crime…. Read More

The “Corpus Delicti” Rule: Statements Alone Are Not Enough

My client was walking along one night in Philadelphia when he was jumped by three men who took his money and firearm. When he went to the police to report the robbery, the police ran his record. They… Read More

Thorne v. U.S.: You Can’t Penalize the Defendant for Exercising His Constitutional Rights

It is a challenge for every criminal defense attorney. You want to do everything you can to put the government’s case to the test. At the same time, recognizing that you still might not win, you don’t want… Read More

“Don’t Editorialize”

Many police officers have a tendency to editorialize on the witness stand. It is not that the driver reached for the glove compartment after being pulled over so that he could have his license and registration ready for… Read More

Aborted Guilty Pleas and Superhuman Judges

The disciplined judicial mind should not be subjected to any unnecessary strain;…the most austere intellect has a subconscious. How great is this language? Although the language dates back to 1972, it did not come to my attention until… Read More

Do Your Job, Mr. Prosecutor. And Turn Over the Evidence.

The prosecutor has acknowledged that he should have turned over certain information to defense attorneys. That is what he says today. The case was back in 1984. Witnesses came forward when he was still preparing the case to… Read More

Checking The Rules. Checking Them Twice.

One of the things I miss most about working at the public defender’s office was the ability to get immediate feedback from colleagues on an issue. Do you know this judge or prosecutor? Have you faced this type… Read More

Morgan v. U.S.: Inconsistent Evidence at Trial and “Show Cause” Hearing

One of the things that surprised me when I first began to practice criminal law was the notion that you could be acquitted of a particular offense at trial and then have that very same criminal charge –… Read More