Ode to a legal career

Jamison KoehlerLaw Practice, Miscellaneous, Opinions/Cases

When I last wrote about my niece Emma, she was an all-Ivy scholar and athlete, the leading scorer and captain of her college soccer team. Since that ground-breaking blog entry of 2012, Emma has played professional soccer.  She is still, as I described her back then, pretty, smart, personable and modest, a woman who not only knows how to take …

DC Court of Appeals

On receiving stolen property in Lucas

Jamison KoehlerOpinions/Cases, Other Criminal Offenses, Theft/Fraud

Antonio Lucas robbed a man in Maryland.  He then traveled to D.C. where he was arrested. Mr. Lucas could not be charged in D.C. with the felony offense of robbery.  Because that crime had occurred in a different jurisdiction.  Instead, he was charged with — and ultimately convicted of – Receiving Stolen Property in violation of D.C. Code § 22-3232.  …

Baltimore graffiti

On the fumbling hand of counsel

Jamison KoehlerAppellate Practice, Criminal Procedure, Legal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

The brother of my court-appointed client takes me from the courtroom into the hallway to dress me down for a legal decision I just made on his brother’s behalf. The brother cites a legal platitude that, though true, had nothing to do with the decision I just made. “You and I both know I am right on this one,” he …

Limiting recross examination in Sanchez v. U.S.

Jamison KoehlerEvidence, Opinions/Cases, Trial Advocacy

D.C. Superior Court judges do not typically allow re-cross examinations.  Yes, you have a constitutional right to confront witnesses against you in a criminal proceeding.  But, with judges enjoying widespread discretion to oversee the proceedings, this right is not without its limits.   The defendant in Gabriel Sanchez v. United States, 287 A.3d 1241 (D.C. 2023), was charged with Assault with Intent to Kill …

Photo of GRU

T.W. and the “jump out” cops in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Opinions/Cases

They are known on the street as the “jump out” cops. They cruise poor parts of town in unmarked cars, one car following the other.  There are 3 or 4 officers in each car.  They pull up and jump out at the slightest hint of criminal activity.  Sometimes they see a suspect walking with a lopsided gait or swinging only …

On searching a car after POCA arrest in Smith v. U.S.

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, Opinions/Cases

In Arizona v. Gant, the U.S. Supreme Court held that police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest (and therefore without a warrant) under one of only two scenarios.  The first scenario is that officers have a reasonable belief that the arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search, thereby …

On ineffective assistance of counsel in Dugger v. U.S.

Jamison KoehlerLegal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

It is always painful to see a criminal defendant replace a good public defender or court-appointed lawyer with an inexperienced one. Because you don’t value what you don’t pay for. This is what happened in Timothy Dugger v. United States, 295 A.3d 1102 (D.C. 2023), an opinion issued recently by the D.C. Court of Appeals. A smart and seasoned criminal …