Jefferson Memorial

Morgan v. U.S.: Inconsistent Evidence at Trial and “Show Cause” Hearing

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Legal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases

One of the things that surprised me when I first began to practice criminal law was the notion that you could be acquitted of a particular offense at trial and then have that very same criminal charge – the one on which you were just found not guilty – serve as the basis for being found in violation of probation …

Jefferson Memorial

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

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Legal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases

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 matters and, after passing the matter a couple of times, the court eventually postponed the trial so that the discovery issues could …

Jefferson Memorial

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

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Legal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases

  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 Sixth Amendment, . . . the trial judge may curtail cross-examination because of concerns of harassment, prejudice, confusion of the issues, …

D.C. skyline

Terry v. Ohio as a Seinfeld Episode

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Opinions/Cases

  I have often said that you can explain everything in life through a Seinfeld episode. And while there is no single case that does for criminal law what Seinfeld does for life, Terry v. Ohio comes pretty darn close. It is not that Terry is my favorite case. After all, it expanded the scope of constitutionally permitted searches.  But, …

U.S. Capitol Building

Blades v. U.S.: On Cross-Examination and Bias

Jamison Koehler Evidence, Opinions/Cases

The right to cross-examine witnesses is one of the defendant’s most important trial rights.  And, among the areas for cross-examination, what could be more important than bias?  An inability to accurately perceive events could result in an honest mistake.  Bias suggests that the witness might be deliberately coloring the testimony. In Blades v. United States, 25 A.3d 39 (D.C. 2011), …

Jefferson and Washington monuments

In Re Gault: “Constitutional Domestication” of the Juvenile Justice System

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Juveniles, Opinions/Cases

There are only a small number of criminal cases that all lawyers, even those who don’t practice criminal law, seem to know.  Although Miranda v. Arizona is probably the most famous, there is also Gideon v. Wainwright (right to counsel), Wong Sun v. United States (suppression of illegally obtained evidence), Crawford v. Washington (right to confrontation), and In Re Winship …

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 …

Aerial view of DC

Quarles v. Commonwealth: Coerced Confessions in Virginia

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Opinions/Cases

In Quarles v. Commonwealth, a recently issued opinion by the Virginia Court of Appeals, the court considered a set of facts similar to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Rhode Island v. Innis.  However, finding a number of ways to distinguish this case from Innis, it concluded that the defendant’s confession should have been suppressed as the product of police …