Simms v. U.S.: On the Pre-Trial Presumption of Prosecutorial Vindictiveness

David Simms was charged with possession of marijuana. On the day of his scheduled trial, the government announced that it was ready to proceed on the charge. Defense counsel stated it was still awaiting discovery on a few… Read More

Open Guilty Plea = Bad Case + Fair Judge + Unreasonable Prosecutor

When faced with a really bad case, one option is to work out a favorable plea agreement with the government to try to mitigate consequences for the client. Another frequently overlooked option is to do an open guilty… Read More

Entrapment in D.C.: The Legality of Recent Decoy Operations

Your client is heading home, minding his own business, when he comes across what appears to be a homeless man sleeping on a bench at the metro station. Sticking out of the man’s coat pocket is a shiny… Read More

Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle: Applying the Notion of a “Grace Period”

The judge doesn’t like my idea of a “grace period.”  In fact, he chuckles when I propose it:  “I have never seen any case law on that,” he says. I was not trying to be funny. My client… Read More

On the Criminal Defenses of “Justification” and “Excuse”

How can you not love the criminal defenses? With the government burdened with proving every element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt, one criminal defense strategy is to challenge the identity of the perpetrator. Yes, says the… Read More

Ray Koehler on “Fiat Iustitia Ruat Caelum”

Guest Entry By Raymond Koehler My initial enthusiasm at being invited to write a piece for my brother’s law blog quickly turned to concern.  I am a Latin teacher, not a lawyer, and although I often find myself… Read More

The Criminal Defense of “Mere Presence”

Assuming you did nothing to encourage or instigate the activity, there is nothing illegal about being present during the commission of a crime. There is also no duty, upon coming across a crime in progress, to prevent that… Read More

Coles v. U.S.: The Right to a “Meaningful Degree” of Cross-Examination

Although the ability to cross-examine a witness is a critical component of the Sixth Amendment right to confront your accusers in a criminal case, this right is not without boundaries:  “Once sufficient cross-examination has occurred to satisfy the… Read More

Confrontation Clause Be Damned: D.C. Continues to Use Surrogate Witnesses in DUI Cases

Michael Bruckheim was scheduled to cross-examine Lucas Zarwell, the chief forensic toxicologist in D.C., and a group of DUI lawyers had gathered outside Room 116 yesterday afternoon shortly before 2:00 pm. Zarwell testified before city council last May… Read More

On Recusals: Offending the Judge, Protecting the Client

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…. Read More