The “forfeiture-by-wrongdoing” doctrine in Hairston

Jefferson Memorial

Under the ‘forfeiture-by-wrongdoing doctrine, a defendant forfeits his Sixth Amendment right to be confronted by a witness against him, as well as his objection to the introduction of hearsay, if he wrongfully procured the unavailability of that witness with the purpose of preventing the witness from testifying.

Bias and corruption in Jones v. US

Photo of GRU

Bias can be “a favorable or friendly feeling toward a party.” It can also be hostility toward someone, a motive to lie out of self-interest, and/or corruption.

Beating an attempted drug possession case

Aerial view of DC

Now that DFS has lost its accreditation, the government is looking for creative ways to prosecute drug possession cases, including amending the charges to attempted possession. There are equally creative ways to counter this strategy.

On character and grace

Trump at Resolute Desk

Donald Trump’s problems go beyond a lack of manners or character. He is also a sociopath. He does not learn. He has no shame. He is driven only by immediate self-interest.

On the “missing evidence” jury instruction in Howard v. US

DC Court of Appeals

Like “reading the white space” on a police report (that is, focusing on what is NOT included), the “missing evidence” jury instruction “essentially creates evidence from non-evidence.”

Getting the rules of evidence wrong in HBO’s “The Undoing”

Nicole Kidman on witness stand

It can’t be much fun to watch a legal drama on TV with my wife and me. We understand the need to keep the story moving. But you need to get certain basics correct.

Hearsay through the eyes of our law student

D.C. criminal defense attorney

When it comes to hearsay, there is only one phrase you need to keep in mind: Hearsay is an out-of-court assertion offered for the truth. If it doesn’t satisfy that definition, it is not hearsay.

“Present Sense Impression” in Sims v. United States

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

In addition to contemporaneity and spontaneity, the proponent of a “present sense impression” hearsay exception must prove that the declarant personally perceived the event described.

Re-cross examination in Green v. United States

examination graffiti

If the government introduces new evidence during re-direct examination, the defense has a constitutional right to question the witness about that new evidence.

The difference between a leading and non-leading question

“What is your name?”  That is a non-leading question.  Compare that with “Your name is John Smith, isn’t it?” That would be leading.  It basically tells the witness what his answer should be.