Police officers should not be advocates

D.C. criminal defense attorney

Police officers have an instinctual unwillingness to agree with a defense attorney. Call me old-fashioned but I think it should be “just the facts, ma’m.”

The definition of “stuporous” and other dumb police-isms.

D.C. criminal defense attorney

Imagine my delight upon seeing the term “stuporous” used in the police report. Sometimes officers try to do too much. They should stay in their lane.

“You do not know how to read a Google Map?”

D.C. criminal defense attorney

Q:        So you followed him back to his house? A:         I didn’t follow him.  I was on my way to my mother’s house.  She lives in that area.   Q:        You told police that your mother lives on B Street, right? THE COURT:    Is that… Read More

Police officers are not neutral and disinterested witnesses

D.C. criminal defense attorney

It is true that police officers have no stake in the outcome of the case. But they are hardly neutral and disinterested witnesses.

Trial transcript: impeaching lying witness

graffiti - impeachment

Q: Ms. Jones. You realize that when the police interviewed you, they were wearing body worn cameras? A: Actually I didn’t know that. That’s not something I was aware of.

Patience. Not drama.

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

At a recent trial, I called my client’s mother as our only witness.  I regretted this almost immediately. We had interviewed her. We had subpoenaed her. We had prepared her. And I should have left her sitting in the hall outside the courtroom as I rested my case.

The difference between a leading and non-leading question

“What is your name?”  That is a non-leading question.  Compare that with “Your name is John Smith, isn’t it?” That would be leading.  It basically tells the witness what his answer should be. 

On the true meaning of “tragedy”

A man is charged with soliciting a prostitute.  He is a Lyft driver who, on the night in question, drops off a customer in D.C.  A female undercover officer approaches the car while he is pulled over.  What happens next is contested. 

Laying the Foundation for an “Excited Utterance”

Q. Officer. When you arrived, the altercation was still on-going, right?
A. That’s right.
Q. So you have no idea how it started?
A. No, I don’t.
Q. When you arrived, my client had a bottle in her hand?
A. Correct.
Q. And he had a piece of wood in his hand, right?

Police Officers as Neutral, Disinterested Witnesses

I like most of the police officers I work with.  Access to body worn camera footage has also given me greater respect for what they do:  I have seen them deal with volatile and potentially dangerous situations with sensitivity and respect.  But this notion of police officers as neutral, disinterested third party observers who testify impartially on behalf of the government is ridiculous. The officers do pick a side – and it is the government’s.