Jefferson Memorial

He is 12 Years Old

Jamison Koehler Juveniles

As soon as I have the signed order in hand, I head to the “at-risk” cell block to make sure my client is released. My client’s mother, waiting in the hallway, is mad at me. She thinks her son is out-of-control and needs to be locked up, and we have been working at cross-purposes throughout this case. He comes and …

U.S. Capitol building

Goodbye to Dana Tapper and the PDS Summer Interns

Jamison Koehler Juveniles

Summer is over, and the Public Defender Service (PDS) interns assigned to the Youth Services Center are gone. Although I never met any of them in person (they were there during the day, and I visit clients evenings and over the weekend), I will miss them very much. So will my clients. The interns were young and smart and had …

In Re D.M.: When Can You Dismiss a Juvenile Case for “Social Reasons”?

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Juveniles, Opinions/Cases

The problem with using a canon of statutory interpretation to justify a legal opinion is that you can usually find some other canon to arrive at the exact opposite conclusion. For example, to support its recent holding in In Re D.M., 47 A.3d 539 (D.C. 2012), the D.C. Court of Appeals used the rule that, whenever possible, different provisions within a …

U.S. Capitol Building

List for D.C. Juvenile Panel is Out

Jamison Koehler Current Events, D.C. Superior Court

The list of lawyers approved to take on court appointments for juvenile cases is now out. D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield issued the order approving the list on February 27. The appointment is good for four years. The process began last summer when all members of the Panel were asked to re-apply. The Family Court Panel Oversight Committee, …

Aerial view of DC

That Was The Right Decision, Judge. No Matter What I Said.

Jamison Koehler Juveniles, Professional Responsibility/Ethics

  One of the first things they told us during the training for court-appointed juvenile cases was that we should never allow ourselves to become co-opted by the system. My first reaction upon hearing this was:  What the heck are they talking about? My only previous experience with juvenile cases had been in Philadelphia, and it was not a good …

Aerial view of DC

Ode to My Investigator

Jamison Koehler Investigations, Juveniles

  I botched the investigation. I went to the store on Upper Wisconsin Avenue in which my client was alleged to have committed a robbery.  While there, I neglected to look for a critical piece of evidence:  whether or not there was a surveillance camera over the cash register.  As a result, my investigator Wayne Marshall had to go back …

On Recusals: Offending the Judge, Protecting the Client

Jamison Koehler Criminal Procedure, Juveniles, Legal Concepts/Principles

  A couple of years ago, a Court of Common Pleas judge in Philadelphia banned me from her courtroom for life.  Both the stenographer and her law clerk looked at me with sympathy when the judge issued the edict. Maybe they thought I would be upset. In fact, running a list in this judge’s courtroom was viewed to be a …