In Re K.A.: The “Quantum of Independent Evidence” Needed to Corroborate a Confession

Aerial view of DC

  The corpus delicti rule has always been one of my favorite legal doctrines. It is not just that the rule is in Latin, although that never hurts. It is not that the rule dates back centuries, although… Read More

Dorsey v. U.S.: “I Want to Speak to a Lawyer”

Jefferson Memorial

Although you might think that invoking your right to remain silent and invoking your right to a lawyer would have the same legal effect, you would be mistaken.  In fact, if ever forced to choose, you should always… Read More

Harrison v. U.S.: Reasonable Doubt Through Too Many “Interconnected Inferences”

D.C. skyline

Yes, they record your personal phone calls from prison. Yes, they have someone listen to those tapes. And, yes, they sometimes find something on those tapes to use against you. There is usually a voice recording that periodically… Read More

Michigan v. Long Is Ripe for Reversal

U.S. Capitol building

Courts seem to be bending over backwards to avoid basing decisions on Arizona v. Gant. In an opinion issued last month by the D.C. Court of Appeals, for example, the defendant was pulled over for a minor traffic offense…. Read More

Jackson v. U.S.: Being Nervous Does Not Mean You Are Dangerous

U.S. Capitol Building

And sometimes the D.C. Court of Appeals gets it right. A police officer sees a woman driving a van with what he believes are illegally tinted windows.  When he activates his lights for a traffic stop, the van… Read More

Attempted Battery Assault in D.C. is a “Specific Intent” Offense

U.S. Capitol building

In law school and in preparing for the Bar Exam, we were taught the distinction between general intent and specific intent crimes. If it is a general intent offense, the government must prove only that the defendant intended… Read More

Henson v. US: Consensual Encounters and Unprovoked Flights under Henson v. U.S.

U.S. Capitol building

One of the problems with bad law is that it leads to even worse law. I have never been a big fan of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Illinois v. Wardlow, which held that being in a… Read More

Interpreting “Joint Constructive Possession” in Tamara Smith v. U.S.

U.S. Capitol Building

If constructive possession is a legal fiction, then joint constructive possession is a double legal fiction. It is not only that you do not actually possess the article in question (and by actual possession, I mean physical occupancy… Read More

What is a “Testimonial Statement” under Crawford v. Washington?

U.S. Capitol Building

You know you are in trouble the moment the judge refers to “that Supreme Court case on confrontation.”  He adds: “Robinson I think it is called.” The judge is a highly respected senior judge.   Although you realize he… Read More

Lazo v. U.S.: A Court’s Duty To Investigate a Jencks Act Violation

D.C. skyline

The Jencks Act was a nasty little surprise when I began to practice in D.C. It was not that I didn’t appreciate getting the information. It was that I was used to getting this information much earlier in the process… Read More