Til Death Do Us Part: On a Lawyer’s Duty of Confidentiality

One of the things I like to tell clients is that my duty to them of confidentiality lasts not until they die, but until I die. I know this statement is a tad precious, and I have to… Read More

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

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… Read More

On Ashe v. Swenson: Double Jeopardy and Collateral Estoppel

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… Read More

A Good Legal Opinion, Like Wine, Only Improves With Age

There was a judge in Philadelphia, recently deceased, who complained every time a defense attorney cited an old case. Pennsylvania’s case law is pretty favorable when it comes to criminal defense, and there were a host of tried-and-true… Read More

Quarles v. Commonwealth: Coerced Confessions in Virginia

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… Read More

D.C. Overhauls Disorderly Conduct Statute

Disorderly conduct laws made national news in 2009 when Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his home for “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public place.” Gates, who is African American, claimed racial profiling. The… Read More

The “Collective Knowledge” Doctrine in D.C.

The firmly established “collective knowledge” doctrine in D.C. provides that, in determining whether the officers possessed sufficient knowledge to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause for a search or seizure, it is not what any individual officer knows… Read More

A Police Officer In Your Rearview Mirror

Your client is driving along late one night on a deserted highway in Virginia. He is not speeding or swerving. He isn’t driving on the shoulder of the road or into opposing lanes of traffic. He is obeying… Read More

D.C.’s Criminal Gang Statute To Be Tested

Trial begins today in D.C. Superior Court on a case that will test D.C.’s new criminal gang statute.  According to the Washington Post, five men who are allegedly members of the Todd Place crew are charged with killing… Read More

Disorderly Conduct: D.C. Court Narrows The Scope

Disorderly conduct is a really annoying charge. The first problem is that the offense is usually so broad and poorly defined that it is too easy for police to charge and too easy for the government to prove… Read More