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.

On Judicial Notice and Mejia-Cortez

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

Although a court may take “judicial notice” of commonly known facts, the government must still prove every element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

On the right to testify in Graves v. U.S.

DC Superior Court front

It is reversible error for the trial judge to prohibit the defendant from testifying that he was acting in self-defense when the court had already concluded that the arresting officer had not used excessive force.

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.”

Clearing/sealing/expunging a criminal record

criminal background check image

Everything you need to know about clearing, expunging or sealing your criminal record in anticipation of background check for employment, adoption, immigration, volunteer opportunity or gun license.

When it Comes To Self-Defense, it is the Immediacy of the Response Needed, Not the Immediacy of the Threat

Words in the law do not always mean what their dictionary definitions say they mean. With respect to a prior consistent statement, for example, it is not really, as suggested by the rule, that such a statement must… Read More

Judicial Notice: The Difference Between “Legislative” and “Adjudicative” Facts

A court accepts a well-known and indisputable fact without taking the time and trouble of requiring a party to prove it.  What could be more straightforward, more commonsensical, than that?  As McCormick puts it, the “oldest and plainest… Read More

Wayne LaFave on “Motive”

Motive.  It is really big on TV shows.  At the same time, if you listen to Wayne LaFave, it is completely irrelevant when it comes to substantive criminal law:  The government is not required to prove motive in… Read More

Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

Translated into English, actus no facit reum nisi mens sit rea means that “an act does not make one guilty unless his mind is guilty.” In other words, it is not enough for the government to prove a… Read More