The “Stationary Shelter” Doctrine in Maryland DUI Cases

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Although I am not even sworn in yet, I think I am going to like Maryland practice. I noticed while studying for the bar that the discovery rules are far more encompassing – and rational — than in… Read More

Mitchell v. U.S.: Cruelty to Children is a General Intent Offense

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In Pennsylvania, the offense is known as endangering the welfare of a child.  In D.C., it is cruelty to children and, as the D.C. Court of Appeals pointed out recently in Mitchell v. United States, 64 A.3d 154… Read More

Young v. U.S.: The Confrontation Clause Is Still Alive In D.C.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has made such a mess of the Confrontation Clause line of cases that the D.C. Court of Appeals declared today that it really doesn’t know what to do. So it decided to do the… Read More

Further Guidance on Significant Bodily Injury in Quintanilla v. U.S.

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The D.C. Court of Appeals took another step last week in defining what up until recently has been a poorly defined term:  the “significant bodily injury” that is required in order for the government to prove felony assault…. Read More

Haye v. U.S.: Unlawful Entry, Criminal Contempt, Double Jeopardy, and Prior Bad Acts

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When people talk about evidence being admitted at trial, they tend to think in terms of physical evidence:  guns, drugs, documents, fingerprints, DNA, that type of thing. Sometimes you need to remind them that oral testimony alone –… Read More

D.C. Court of Appeals on “Furtive Gestures”

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Sometimes you need to go outside your own jurisdiction to find the right language in support of an argument.  For years I have been looking for language that captures the problems — the ambiguity and the over-inclusiveness –… Read More

Constructive Possession: Intent Required, Not Just Proximity and Knowledge

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That a controlled substance can be possessed constructively as well as actually is a court-made decision. As Judge Ruiz put it in her concurring opinion to Rivas v. United States, 783 A.2d 125 (D.C. 2005), the “doctrine of… Read More

Lee v. United States: Mistaken Jury Instructions on the “Defense of Others”

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The D.C. Court of Appeals was apparently feeling charitable. In Adrian Lee v. United States, 61 A.3d 655 (D.C. 2013), a decision issued last week, the Court bent over backwards to justify and explain mistaken jury instructions issued… Read More

Motive, Intent, Identity, and Absence of Mistake Under Drew

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One of the disadvantages to practicing law in D.C. is that the courts here do not use the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). You can’t just consult the text of a particular rule and then the case law… Read More

The “Quantum of Evidence” Needed to Corroborate a Confession

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The “corroboration rule” requires the government to introduce “substantial independent evidence” establishing the trusthworthiness of a confession before that statement can be submitted to the jury.