On Recusals: Offending the Judge, Protecting the Client

Jamison Koehler Criminal 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 …

On Zealous Representation and Public Defenders

Jamison Koehler Law Practice, Legal Concepts/Principles, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

  I will remember this.  This is what the prosecutor promises you. In another context, she could be intending this as a threat.  As in:  I will get you back for this.  In this case, she is trying to entice you into making a concession, and she is putting you on notice that she has a long memory.   She …

Jefferson Memorial

Why Police Officers Love the “Plain View” Exception

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Legal Concepts/Principles

  Police officers love the “plain view” exception to the Fourth Amendment requirement for a warrant. It is because this exception is so straightforward and understandable:  I didn’t need a warrant because I saw it with my own eyes.  I immediately recognized it as contraband.  So I grabbed it. All the other exceptions are much more complicated, and the law …

On Ashe v. Swenson: Double Jeopardy and Collateral Estoppel

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Defenses to Criminal Charges, Legal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases

Many laypersons suffer from misconceptions about the protections offered by the Double Jeopardy Clause contained in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. As Blonde Justice pointed out in one of her funnier posts, for example, double jeopardy does not cover the situation in which the defendant is forced to show up twice for court appearances on the same charge.  Nor does …

U.S. Capitol Building

Self-Defense in a D.C. Assault Case

Jamison Koehler Assault, Defenses to Criminal Charges, Law Practice, Legal Concepts/Principles

Self-defense is an affirmative defense to simple assault and other assault charges in D.C. Self-defense is the use of force to protect oneself, one’s family or one’s property from a real or threatened attack.  It is an affirmative defense, meaning that the defendant has the initial burden of raising it. In D.C., once the defendant has been able to introduce …