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

Simms v. U.S.: On the Pre-Trial Presumption of Prosecutorial Vindictiveness

David Simms was charged with possession of marijuana. On the day of his scheduled trial, the government announced that it was ready to proceed on the charge. Defense counsel stated it was still awaiting discovery on a few… Read More

Open Guilty Plea = Bad Case + Fair Judge + Unreasonable Prosecutor

When faced with a really bad case, one option is to work out a favorable plea agreement with the government to try to mitigate consequences for the client. Another frequently overlooked option is to do an open guilty… Read More

Constitutionality of D.C.’s “Post-and-Forfeit” Statute Upheld

Know your rights. But be judicious about asserting them. That’s what I always tell people. Don’t go picking unnecessary fights with police officers. And don’t go bringing stupid lawsuits.  No matter how good a lawyer you think you are. Hamilton… Read More

Waiving a Probable Cause Hearing in a Juvenile Case

“Why would ever you want to waive the probable cause hearing?”  This is what I ask the lawyer of one of two co-respondents in a juvenile case. She is brand new at the Public Defender Service, and has… Read More

Entrapment in D.C.: The Legality of Recent Decoy Operations

Your client is heading home, minding his own business, when he comes across what appears to be a homeless man sleeping on a bench at the metro station. Sticking out of the man’s coat pocket is a shiny… Read More

On the Criminal Defenses of “Justification” and “Excuse”

How can you not love the criminal defenses? With the government burdened with proving every element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt, one criminal defense strategy is to challenge the identity of the perpetrator. Yes, says the… Read More

Withdrawing a Guilty Plea

It is never easy to plead guilty. As the cliché goes, if you plead guilty, there is a 100% chance that you will be found guilty. Nobody likes to stand up in open court and admit to a… Read More

Coles v. U.S.: The Right to a “Meaningful Degree” of Cross-Examination

Although the ability to cross-examine a witness is a critical component of the Sixth Amendment right to confront your accusers in a criminal case, this right is not without boundaries:  “Once sufficient cross-examination has occurred to satisfy the… Read More

On Trial Transcripts: Only the Stenographer Knows for Sure

Reviewing the transcript from a hearing or trial you have done can sometimes be a humbling experience. What you may have remembered as a dramatic moment at trial can come across as flat on the printed page, and… Read More