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

Toward a Better Rule on Informed Consent

Police officers love the consent exception to the Fourth Amendment requirement for a warrant almost as much as they love plain view.  It is because the exception makes things so easy for them:  They can do almost anything… Read More

A Letter of Apology After a Guilty Verdict

After finding my client guilty of simple assault, the judge orders my client to write a letter of apology to the complaining witness. I can understand an apology after a guilty plea.  After all, acknowledgment of remorse could… Read More

Brilliant Trial Lawyer or Simple Ass?

MR. KOEHLER:  Objection.  Relevance. THE COURT:  Mr. Koehler, you can sit down. MR. KOEHLER:  Your honor, this is absolutely ridiculous. MR. RIORDAN:  No, it’s not. THE WITNESS:  No, it’s not. MR. KOEHLER:  It is completely irrelevant. THE WITNESS:… Read More

Being Found Guilty After Pleading Guilty

If you plead guilty, there is a 100% chance that you will be found guilty. Or something like that. I read that on the Internet a few weeks ago and, while I can’t remember who said it for… Read More

Terry v. Ohio as a Seinfeld Episode

I have often said that you can explain everything in life through a Seinfeld episode. And while there is no single case that does for criminal law what Seinfeld does for life, Terry v. Ohio comes pretty darn… Read More

Why Police Officers Love the “Plain View” Exception

Police officers love the “plain view” exception to the Fourth Amendment requirement for a warrant. It is because this exception is so straightforward and understandable:  I didn’t need a warrant because I saw it with my own eyes. … Read More

The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful: Love Letter to a D.C. Law Enforcement Officer

I have a beef with a D.C. law enforcement officer.  I would be more specific, but I don’t want to embarrass my investigator.  He has to work with the guy. Dear Mr. Law Enforcement Officer: I understand you… Read More