“My Lawyer Told Me Not To Talk To Anyone About This Case”

Jamison KoehlerJuveniles

One of the reasons I accept court appointments in juvenile cases – but not adult cases – is that the juveniles generally listen to you.  Even then, you can’t always take that for granted. It was thus very gratifying to read the following exchange described in a psychiatric evaluation for a juvenile client. When the evaluator asked my client about …

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

Goodbye to Dana Tapper and the PDS Summer Interns

Jamison KoehlerJuveniles

Summer is over, and the Public Defender Service (PDS) interns assigned to the Youth Services Center are gone. Although I never met any of them in person (they were there during the day, and I visit clients evenings and over the weekend), I will miss them very much. So will my clients. The interns were young and smart and had …

In Re D.M.: When Can You Dismiss a Juvenile Case for “Social Reasons”?

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Juveniles, Opinions/Cases

The problem with using a canon of statutory interpretation to justify a legal opinion is that you can usually find some other canon to arrive at the exact opposite conclusion. For example, to support its recent holding in In Re D.M., 47 A.3d 539 (D.C. 2012), the D.C. Court of Appeals used the rule that, whenever possible, different provisions within a …

Aerial view of DC

That Was The Right Decision, Judge. No Matter What I Said.

Jamison KoehlerJuveniles, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

  One of the first things they told us during the training for court-appointed juvenile cases was that we should never allow ourselves to become co-opted by the system. My first reaction upon hearing this was:  What the heck are they talking about? My only previous experience with juvenile cases had been in Philadelphia, and it was not a good …

Aerial view of DC

Ode to My Investigator

Jamison KoehlerInvestigations, Juveniles

  I botched the investigation. I went to the store on Upper Wisconsin Avenue in which my client was alleged to have committed a robbery.  While there, I neglected to look for a critical piece of evidence:  whether or not there was a surveillance camera over the cash register.  As a result, my investigator Wayne Marshall had to go back …

On Recusals: Offending the Judge, Protecting the Client

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Juveniles, Legal Concepts/Principles

  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. Maybe they thought I would be upset. In fact, running a list in this judge’s courtroom was viewed to be a …