Rest in Peace, Noah Clements

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

Friend and former colleague Noah Clements died last night, just after 11:00 pm. He leaves behind his wife and their three children: Wiley, Eric, and Elise.

D.C. criminal defense attorney

Judges are human

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

The judge does not say: I am not willing to take your word for this, and I need to have a law clerk check this out. What he says instead: It is time for lunch. We will pass this matter until 2:00 pm.

Graffiti used to demonstrate expungements from a D.C. criminal defense attorney

Dealing with the crazies in C10

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, D.C. Superior Court

With almost 100 people making their way through arraignment court every day, it is inevitable that there will be a melt-down or two. After all, we are dealing with people who are finishing what for many of them will be the worst day of their lives.

expunge felony in dc

Can you seal/expunge a felony?

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, D.C. Superior Court

The first option for sealing a felony arrest in D.C. would be to file a motion immediately on the grounds of actual innocence under D.C. Code § 16-802.  The second option would be to wait two years to file it under D.C. Code § 16-803. 

D.C. Superior Court Criminal Calendar: 2019 Judicial Assignments

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

Felony 1 Calendar Judge Ronna Beck, Room 316 Judge Danya Dayson, Room 318 Judge Craig Iscoe, Room 313 Judge Milton Lee, Room 302 Judge Juliet McKenna, Room 215 Felony 2 Calendar Judge Steven Berk, Room 321 Judge Kimberley Knowles, Room 319 Judge Michael O’Keefe, Room 310 Judge Robert Okun, Room 216 Judge Michael Ryan, Room 217 Judge Robert Salerno, Room …

Jefferson Memorial

The Reconstituted CJA Panel in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

  Every four years, D.C. Superior Court re-establishes the panel of criminal defense lawyers who are eligible to accept court appointments.  The first re-establishment occurred in 2010 and the second in 2014. Chief Judge Robert Morin just issued his most recent order re-establishing the panel for 2018-2021.  Unlike the 2014 process in which the Court reduced the number of eligible …

Love Letter to a Prosecutor

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

Perhaps I should not admit it, but I like the Assistant U.S. Attorneys in D.C. They are generally smart, reasonable and decent people. They know the law. And, like defense attorneys, they are just trying to do the right thing. My introduction to prosecutors – the assistant district attorneys in Philadelphia – was not a positive one. My experience in …

Second Fiddle at a Jury Trial

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Trial Advocacy

It is not easy sitting second-chair at a trial when you are used to running the show yourself. Recently appointed as a provisional member of the panel to represent indigent criminal defendants in D.C., I need to second-chair two jury trials before I can be considered for inclusion on the full panel.  So I go to the lawyers I most …

Joining the Adult CJA Panel in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, D.C. Superior Court, Juveniles, Law Practice

I have just been appointed to the D.C. Superior Court panel for adult court-appointed cases. I was one of three lawyers appointed on a “provisional” basis. (Three other lawyers were promoted from the provisional panel to the full panel.) Those of us on the provisional panel need to serve a two-year probationary period before we can start doing felonies. To …

Every Prosecutor Should Experience the Humiliation and Discomfort of an Arrest

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

Your client is charged with Leaving After Colliding – Property Damage.  This is the technical way of saying that he is charged with “hit-and-run” or “leaving the scene of an accident” as the offense is known in other jurisdictions. Your client is a professional with a pristine driving record. He has never been arrested before. He rear-ends another vehicle while …

Solo Practitioners Don’t Have A Jackie Frankfurt

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, D.C. Superior Court, Law Practice

We had a tremendous support network at the public defender’s office in Philadelphia. There were social workers and mental health professionals. There were administrative staff focusing on probation, parole, and the expungement of criminal records. If you had a question about a particular point of law or opinion, there was a whole group of appellate lawyers at your disposal. And …

Job Security is Not Always a Good Thing

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

Sour.  Unprofessional.  And extraordinarily slow at everything she does. That is my assessment of the woman who sits at the reception desk on the 10th floor of the Office of the Attorney General.  She reminds me of everything I didn’t like when I worked for the federal government many years ago. I complain about the receptionist to one of the …

James Colt is Superman

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

I am a fan of D.C. criminal defense attorney James Colt.  It is not only his name, which sounds like it was pulled from a Harlequin romance.  It is also that he is a pleasant guy and, from what I can tell, a very good lawyer. Now there is this:  I am standing by the clerk’s desk in the courtroom …

Watching Amy Phillips

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Trial Advocacy

She is assertive without being aggressive. She knows when to push and when to hang back. She is pleasant and well-spoken. She does her homework. She is committed to her clients while keeping a sense of humor. As an avid student of the law, she is always ready to talk things through with you. She is smart in a way …

“Equal Justice Under Law”: Why Alec Karakatsanis Is Not Your Typical Smug, Humorless Public Interest Lawyer

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

One of the hazards of public interest work is that it seems to contribute to smugness.  I may be underpaid and overworked.  But at least I am doing the Lord’s work.  And that work is more important than anything my higher paid colleagues with more prestigious jobs are doing. I encountered a little bit of this phenomenon during my three …

With Significant Drop in Crime, D.C. Reduces Size of CJA Panel

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

The list is finally out. D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Morin announced last fall that the panel of attorneys who are approved to represent indigent criminal defendants would be reconstituted. Everyone was required to re-apply. And, with the number of criminal cases down 25% since 2008, Judge Morin warned that there would be major cuts. Sure enough, in a report …

Policy Shmolicy: Dealing With Junior Prosecutors

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

Occasionally you have a judge who tells it like it is. I am standing at the bar of the court. My client has successfully completed a diversion program. The clerk calls our case 15 minutes early, before my client has arrived in the courtroom, so I offer to waive my client’s presence. We need two simple words from the government …

U.S. Capitol building

PDS Launches Criminal Law Blog

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, Criminal Law Bloggers, D.C. Superior Court, Opinions/Cases

The Public Defender Service (PDS) has just begun a blog — the PDS Criminal Law Blog — that reviews recent D.C. Court of Appeals opinions.  With Samia Fam, Nancy Glass, Jackie Frankfurt, and a handful of other public defenders sharing responsibility for the writing, the blog will certainly have some heavy hitters behind it.  The most recent entry covers Vines …

Why I Prefer D.C. Superior Court

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Law Practice

Here are 15 reasons I prefer D.C. Superior Court to the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia: There is a cafeteria. There is a lawyer’s lounge. There is a legal library. Women in orange jackets greet you when you come into the building and direct you to where you need to go. You can get into an elevator. When you can’t …

Jefferson Memorial

On “Constructive Venting” And Wayne My Investigator

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Investigations, Law Practice

Seth Godin writes about a friend of his, a middle school teacher, who avoided the teacher’s lounge because “he couldn’t bear the badmouthing of students, the whining and the blaming”: Just about every organization, every on-line service, every product and every element of our culture now has chat rooms and forums devoted to a few people looking for something to …

Firing Andrew Crespo

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Trial Advocacy

I am watching what has to be the best cross-examination at a probable cause hearing I have ever seen. It is a new attorney from the Public Defender Service (PDS), someone I have never seen before, and he is handling the cross-examination like he is Irving Younger. He is pleasant but firm. He moves methodically through the facts, pinning the …

Jefferson and Washington monuments

A Guilty Plea at D.C. Superior Court

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Juveniles

Guest Post by Emma Brush A visit to Arlington was the occasion for this undeserved opportunity of mine to post.  Originally, my Uncle Jamie had a jury trial scheduled. Knowing that I was considering law school, he thought it would be fun for me to see. Unfortunately, the court date was postponed.  Fortunately, he had a juvenile case that was …

U.S. Capitol building

Why I Like D.C.’s Public Defender Service

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Law Practice

When I worked as a public defender in Philadelphia, we had what I can only describe as an uneasy relationship with the private criminal defense bar.  Looking at it from the standpoint of the PD’s office, there were a number of reasons for this somewhat dysfunctional relationship. For one thing, some of the private defense attorneys were just plain bad, …

U.S. Capitol building

Open Letter to an Honest Cop

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

Dear Officer Parrish: A couple of weeks ago, I cross-examined one of your colleagues from the 3rd District.  The issue at that hearing was similar to the one under consideration today:  Whether or not the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to detain my client. Your colleague decided to strengthen the government’s case against my client by lying.  …

Joseph Rakofsky’s Former Client Sentenced to 10 Years

Jamison KoehlerCurrent Events, D.C. Superior Court, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

After pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, Dontrell Deaner has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised probation. Remember Dontrell Deaner? Just over a year ago, his name was all over the Internet in connection with the Joseph Rakofsky fiasco. Rakofsky was the lawyer, a few years out of law school, who took …

U.S. Capitol Building

List for D.C. Juvenile Panel is Out

Jamison KoehlerCurrent Events, D.C. Superior Court

The list of lawyers approved to take on court appointments for juvenile cases is now out. D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield issued the order approving the list on February 27. The appointment is good for four years. The process began last summer when all members of the Panel were asked to re-apply. The Family Court Panel Oversight Committee, …

Aerial view of DC

D.C. Welcomes Jackie Cadman

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court

Mani Golzari told me she was coming to D.C., but I had no idea she was already here until I ran into her yesterday in the basement of Moultrie, heading to her first arraignment.  I was not prepared for her hug because, well, I am an uptight kind of guy. Jackie Cadman has arrived. When I introduced Golzari on this …

D.C. skyline

A Public Defender Just Doing His Job

Jamison KoehlerD.C. Superior Court, Trial Advocacy

  I am watching Mani Golzari of the D.C. Public Defender Service cross-examine a police officer at a probable cause hearing. Of all the cross-examinations I have either done or seen this past week, Golzari’s is undoubtedly the best. Golzari was a rising superstar when we worked together at the public defender’s office in Philadelphia, and he is even better …