On Prison Tapes: Eavesdropping on Your Client

I am dealing with a “hide-the-ball”-type prosecutor in Virginia. I have gotten spoiled from working with D.C. prosecutors; they are usually pretty upfront about what they have against your client.  There are no ambushes or surprises.  Your client… Read More

In Favor of a Virginia Jury Instruction on “Knowing and Intentional” Possession

My client is a convicted felon. He knows that it is illegal for him to possess a firearm. He lends his ex-wife his car.  She returns it to him after a couple of days but accidentally leaves behind… Read More

On Compensating A Wrongfully Detained Defendant

“My client had been held on no bond in the county jail for 25 months. Never once bitched about being in there or tried to rush me.” So says Chicago criminal defense lawyer Marcus Schantz on Twitter. A… Read More

In Re Gault: “Constitutional Domestication” of the Juvenile Justice System

There are only a small number of criminal cases that all lawyers, even those who don’t practice criminal law, seem to know.  Although Miranda v. Arizona is probably the most famous, there is also Gideon v. Wainwright (right… Read More

On Ashe v. Swenson: Double Jeopardy and Collateral Estoppel

Many laypersons suffer from misconceptions about the protections offered by the Double Jeopardy Clause contained in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. As Blonde Justice pointed out in one of her funnier posts, for example, double jeopardy does not… Read More

On the Defendant’s Acceptance of Responsibility at Sentencing

Earlier this week, I caught the tail-end of a DWI trial in which Michael Bruckheim was representing the defendant. Bruckheim had attended portions of my last DWI trial in D.C., and I decided to repay the favor. I… Read More

Quarles v. Commonwealth: Coerced Confessions in Virginia

In Quarles v. Commonwealth, a recently issued opinion by the Virginia Court of Appeals, the court considered a set of facts similar to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Rhode Island v. Innis.  However, finding a number of… Read More

Lives of “Quiet Desperation”: More on Jailhouse Lawyers

Over at Chicago Criminal Defense, Marcus Schantz writes about the challenge of representing an incarcerated client who fancies himself a lawyer. With much at stake, time on his hands, and access to a prison “library” (often a converted broom… Read More

Why I Hate Guilty Pleas

Having a client accept a guilty plea is like getting all dressed up for the prom and then deciding to stay home. On Friday I stood with the prosecutor outside a Prince William County courtroom on a driving… Read More

Second Chances in Virginia

Here, for free, is my simple legal advice: Whatever you do, don’t get arrested in Virginia. The Commonwealth is, as far as I can tell, one of the worst places to find yourself when facing criminal charges. The… Read More