art work

I don’t want to be that guy

Jamison KoehlerHumor, Miscellaneous

I have to be careful — as I grow more experienced and continue to age –that I don’t turn into the stereotype of the cranky old criminal defense lawyer.

“When Beggars Die, There Are No Comets Seen”

Jamison KoehlerHumor, Miscellaneous

My wife believes in helping out those who are less fortunate. I believe that if everyone would stop giving money to the panhandlers who frequent every major traffic intersection in Baltimore, the panhandlers would be gone within a week. If I were to ever run for office, I would have two planks on my platform. The first would be for …

“The Type of Guy That Gives Lawyers a Bad Name”

Jamison KoehlerHumor, Trial Advocacy

Q:            When did you have that conversation then with David? A:            Prior to him ending up in the hospital. Q:            Do you recall the date, approximately? A:            No, I do not recall an approximate date. Q:            Not even a year? A:            What? Are you that stupid? 2013. Q:            You didn’t have a conversation with him in 2012 about selling it …

Please Call Me “Sir”

Jamison KoehlerHumor

I went into a bank this morning wearing sweat pants, and the guy greeting people at the front door called me “Buddy.” I am sure that, had I been wearing a suit, he would have called me “sir.” As a younger man, I used to hang out with my cousin and his friends. Let’s just say that if you saw …

“Observe and Report”: The Duties of Fake Cops

Jamison KoehlerHumor

This is what the witness’ duty is.  It is not to “protect and serve” like a regular police officer.  Instead, it is to “observe and report.” The judge isn’t sure she heard this right, and she asks him to repeat it.  He doesn’t flinch.  He obliges. I have some fun with this on cross. So you don’t carry a gun?  …

Jefferson Memorial

Bob Ford Meets Bob Ford

Jamison KoehlerHumor

When we lived in Philadelphia, I used to read a daily column in the Philadelphia Inquirer written by a sportswriter named Bob Ford. I also played softball every Sunday with a guy named Bob Ford. At first it did not occur to me that the Bob Ford I played softball with every Sunday had anything to do with the Bob …

D.C. skyline

Lamp as Inanimate Object and Other Really Bad Analogies

Jamison KoehlerHumor

The Washington Post held a contest a couple of years ago in which it asked school teachers to send in examples of the worst analogies they had ever encountered in grading student papers.  Below, with thanks to Ruth Hamburger, are some of my favorites.  He was as tall as a 6’3” tree. John and Mary had never met.  They were …

American flag

What We Talk About On Our Way To A Crime Scene

Jamison KoehlerHumor, Investigations

It turns out that Wayne, my investigator, and I both do the laundry in our households. Apparently, neither of us has a wife who understands that you cannot put whites in with the colored clothes, set the dial to hot water, and then expect to have the whites coming out like they looked before. As I tell my wife, you …

U.S. Capitol Building

“Don’t Editorialize”

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Humor, Trial Advocacy

Many police officers have a tendency to editorialize on the witness stand. It is not that the driver reached for the glove compartment after being pulled over so that he could have his license and registration ready for the officer’s inspection. It is that the “suspect” was making “furtive movements” upon the officer’s approach. It is not that the police …

U.S. Capitol Building

Trial Transcript: A Brand New Prosecutor on Direct

Jamison KoehlerEvidence, Humor, Trial Advocacy

POLICE OFFICER:  . . . The defendants knew they were not allowed in the store. DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Objection. THE COURT:  Grounds? DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Your Honor, as to what the defendants knew, I’d object to that and move to strike. PROSECUTOR:  Your Honor – THE COURT:  Calls – PROSECUTOR:  — I think he was saying the defendants – THE COURT:  — …

Amusing Trial Transcripts

Jamison KoehlerHumor

Back when I was a public defender, my office mate used to come across me reading transcripts from court hearings I had done – from either a trial or a preliminary hearing – and kid me.  I thought I was being conscientious, working hard to make myself a better lawyer.  He thought I was being vain. Apparently he hadn’t read …

Brilliant Trial Lawyer or Simple Ass?

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Humor, Trial Advocacy

  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:  What’s ridiculous is how [the petitioner] gets away with all this stuff. THE COURT:  I really can’t properly judge the relevance …

D.C. skyline

On Trial Tactics — Intentional and Otherwise

Jamison KoehlerHumor, Trial Advocacy

  I am sitting in court waiting for trial to begin.  The charge is assault on a police officer. I have just been given a video recording in another case and I decide to use this time to watch it. So I pull out my laptop and stick it in. My viewing of the video seems to raise the attention …

D.C. skyline

Jack Lambert and My Investigator

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Humor, Miscellaneous

  Wayne, my investigator, thinks he is being subtle. He insists on escorting me out of a bad neighborhood whenever we finish a crime scene investigation, and he doesn’t realize I can see him lingering down the street as I climb into my car. But this guy is bigger than his childhood hero, Jack Lambert of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and …

Explaining the Rakofsky Defamation Suit on an Application

Jamison KoehlerHumor

Filling out an application can be a painful process for anyone who has ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. What specifically is being asked? What is an honest response? And how can I put this response in the best possible light so that it doesn’t torpedo my chances of having the application approved? Most applications used to ask …

Aerial view of DC

If You Can’t Afford a Lawyer, Just Pay the Fine

Jamison KoehlerHumor

Defense strategy of pro se defendant this morning consisted mostly of making faces during the police officer’s testimony.  Note to self:  Not real effective.  Surprisingly enough, the prosecutor still felt the need for argument.

When Your Business Card Is More Memorable Than You Are

Jamison KoehlerHumor, Law Marketing/Networking

I am pretty good with faces and with names.  I have always been impressed — almost flattered — by people who remembered my name after a single meeting, and at one point early in my career, I decided to make a more concerted effort to learn people’s names upon meeting them and to commit those names to memory. The problem, …

Signs You Have Been Working Out Of Your Home Office For Too Long

Jamison KoehlerHumor, Law Practice

Courtesy of the solo practitioners at the ABA listserv Solosez, here are the top 15 signs that you have been working out of your home office, by yourself, for too long. You look forward to your dentist appointment. You’ve started talking to the cat. You don’t like cats.  You don’t have a cat. You look in the mirror and realize …