Harrison v. U.S.: Reasonable Doubt Through Too Many “Interconnected Inferences”

D.C. skyline

Yes, they record your personal phone calls from prison. Yes, they have someone listen to those tapes. And, yes, they sometimes find something on those tapes to use against you. There is usually a voice recording that periodically… Read More

Michigan v. Long Is Ripe for Reversal

U.S. Capitol building

Courts seem to be bending over backwards to avoid basing decisions on Arizona v. Gant. In an opinion issued last month by the D.C. Court of Appeals, for example, the defendant was pulled over for a minor traffic offense…. Read More

Jackson v. U.S.: Being Nervous Does Not Mean You Are Dangerous

U.S. Capitol Building

And sometimes the D.C. Court of Appeals gets it right. A police officer sees a woman driving a van with what he believes are illegally tinted windows.  When he activates his lights for a traffic stop, the van… Read More

Henson v. US: Consensual Encounters and Unprovoked Flights under Henson v. U.S.

U.S. Capitol building

One of the problems with bad law is that it leads to even worse law. I have never been a big fan of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Illinois v. Wardlow, which held that being in a… Read More

Interpreting “Joint Constructive Possession” in Tamara Smith v. U.S.

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If constructive possession is a legal fiction, then joint constructive possession is a double legal fiction. It is not only that you do not actually possess the article in question (and by actual possession, I mean physical occupancy… Read More

Lazo v. U.S.: A Court’s Duty To Investigate a Jencks Act Violation

D.C. skyline

The Jencks Act was a nasty little surprise when I began to practice in D.C. It was not that I didn’t appreciate getting the information. It was that I was used to getting this information much earlier in the process… Read More

D.C. v. Loftus: Operating On A Suspended License Is A Strict Liability Offense

Driving without a license has long been a strict liability offense in D.C. That is, in order to secure a conviction for this offense, the government need only prove that you didn’t have a driver’s license at the… Read More

Defining “Readily Available” in Clyburn v. U.S.

Jefferson Memorial

You can be sitting at work and “constructively possess” something tucked away in your bedroom closet at home. It is not whether you actually physically possess the piece of property at the time; it is whether you have… Read More

Enforcing Brady v. Maryland: Toward An “Open File” Discovery Requirement

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A constitutional right without any way of enforcing that constitutional right is hardly any right at all.  That’s a pretty accurate description of the government’s obligations under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Brady v…. Read More

Wynn v. U.S.: Further Clarification of “Obstruction of Justice” in D.C.

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A person is guilty of obstruction of justice in D.C. if that person “corruptly or by threats of force” obstructs or impedes — or attempts to obstruct or impede — “the due administration of justice in any official… Read More