Still Brady v. Maryland

The prosecutor can hardly blame me for being skeptical.  I ask her about one of the counts that was dropped from the complaint, and she tells me it was because the complaining witness said a few things to… Read More

Clark v. U.S.: The Government’s Violation of a Plea Agreement

The defendant is charged with armed robbery.  He and the government reach agreement on a plea deal in which the government agrees to ask for no more than 10 years of incarceration. In a memorandum submitted to the… Read More

In Re S.W.: Context is Critical When Proving Criminal Threat

I have never been a fan of D.C.’s “threats to do bodily harm” statute. For one thing, it criminalizes behavior that is already covered under the assault statute.  After all, is there any real difference between threatening to… Read More

In Re W.R.: Warrantless Search During a Custodial Arrest

Jejomar Untalan has been busy.  I reported last week on his successful appeal in In re S.B.  This week the D.C. Court of Appeals issued yet another decision bearing Untalan’s name as the appellant’s attorney:  In re W.R.,… Read More

California v. Hodari D: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Complaint

California v. Hodari D, 499 U.S. 621 (1991), is a lousy opinion. It used to be that a person was seized for Fourth Amendment purposes the moment his or her liberty was “restrained” by “some physical force or… Read More

SCOTUS on Flight: Alberty v. United States

“[I]t is a matter of common knowledge that men who are entirely innocent do sometimes fly from the scene of a crime through fear of being apprehended as the guilty parties, or from an unwillingness to appear as… Read More

“Jejomar Untalan Was On The Brief For Appellant”

You never want to find your name on the wrong side of the “v.” As in: United States v. [Your Name Here]. If it is a criminal case, it means that you have been charged with a crime…. Read More

Thorne v. U.S.: You Can’t Penalize the Defendant for Exercising His Constitutional Rights

It is a challenge for every criminal defense attorney. You want to do everything you can to put the government’s case to the test. At the same time, recognizing that you still might not win, you don’t want… Read More

Aborted Guilty Pleas and Superhuman Judges

The disciplined judicial mind should not be subjected to any unnecessary strain;…the most austere intellect has a subconscious. How great is this language? Although the language dates back to 1972, it did not come to my attention until… Read More

Dawkins v. United States: How Far Must A Party Go To Preserve Issue For Appeal?

In an opinion issued last week, Dawkins v. United States, 41 A.3d 1265 (D.C. 2012), the D.C. Court of Appeals addressed the issue of how far a party must go in order to preserve an issue for appeal. … Read More