McCormick on Evidence: Do the Exclusionary Rules Deter Illegal Conduct?

Jefferson Memorial

McCormick on Evidence first points out that you should avoid referring to  “the exclusionary rule” in the singular: Discussions sometimes assume the existence of “the exclusionary rule,” suggesting that there is only one remedial requirement involved. This is… Read More

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

U.S. Capitol building

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

In Re K.A.: The “Quantum of Independent Evidence” Needed to Corroborate a Confession

Aerial view of DC

  The corpus delicti rule has always been one of my favorite legal doctrines. It is not just that the rule is in Latin, although that never hurts. It is not that the rule dates back centuries, although… Read More

The Difference Between Direct and Circumstantial Evidence in D.C.

Jefferson Memorial

Someone was asking me the other day about the difference between direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. The D.C. Criminal Jury Instructions provide a very helpful explanation: There are two types of evidence from which you can determine what… 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

Mason v. U.S.: When Is A Prior Consistent Statement Admissible?

U.S. Capitol Building

I love appellate cases on evidentiary issues – which the D.C. Court of Appeals seems to be doing a lot lately — because they allow me to take out my handy-dandy McCormick on Evidence guide. According to McCormick, there… Read More

Longus v. U.S.: On Bias, Extrinsic Evidence, and the Collateral Fact Rule

U.S. Capitol building

Bias is “the powerful distorting effect on human testimony of the witness’s emotions or feelings towards the parties or the witness’ self-interest in the outcome of the case.”  That is McCormick on Evidence, and it is the clearest, most… Read More

Cue the Radiotape

I am a middle-aged man with some life experience. I have been doing criminal defense for a while now. Just yesterday I posted how many police officers “editorialize” when testifying. Still, I continue to be surprised – each… Read More

“Don’t Editorialize”

U.S. Capitol Building

Many police officers have a tendency to editorialize on the witness stand. It is not that the driver reached for the glove compartment after being pulled over so that he could have his license and registration ready for… Read More

Groundhog Day at the CVS

Jefferson Memorial

It is a snippet of life from a CVS store in the District, viewed again and again through 15 different surveillance cameras. There is a 5-minute view from one camera – say, for example, at the entrance of… Read More