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 …

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 …

On the Benefits of a Flat Fee Agreement

Jamison KoehlerLaw Practice, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

Criminal defense attorneys often use flat fees; that is, we charge a set sum to cover the entire course of a representation. This includes arraignment, negotiations with the prosecutor, any legal research that needs to be conducted, preliminary hearings and status hearings, trial, and, if necessary, sentencing. As Mark Bennett has put it, the flat fee is at once the …