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

Cross-Examining a Prosecutor

I have been called to testify in a criminal case. A couple of weeks ago I represented a woman seeking a civil protection order against a former boyfriend. With the boyfriend now facing criminal charges for contempt of… Read More

Confrontation Clause Be Damned: D.C. Continues to Use Surrogate Witnesses in DUI Cases

Michael Bruckheim was scheduled to cross-examine Lucas Zarwell, the chief forensic toxicologist in D.C., and a group of DUI lawyers had gathered outside Room 116 yesterday afternoon shortly before 2:00 pm. Zarwell testified before city council last May… Read More

On Recusals: Offending the Judge, Protecting the Client

A couple of years ago, a Court of Common Pleas judge in Philadelphia banned me from her courtroom for life.  Both the stenographer and her law clerk looked at me with sympathy when the judge issued the edict…. Read More