He is 12 Years Old

Jefferson Memorial

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… Read More

Goodbye to Dana Tapper and the PDS Summer Interns

U.S. Capitol building

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… Read More

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

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… Read More

Ramifications of a Juvenile Adjudication in D.C.

American flag

One of the questions parents of a juvenile client often ask me is the effect of a juvenile adjudication on their child’s future. The question often comes up in the context of plea negotiations. If, for example, the… Read More

Probation. Drugs. School. Then Home.

American flag

I have a little speech I like to give to my juvenile clients. I tell them that, while I will be looking out for their legal interests as their lawyer, what happens to them pending trial or if… Read More

List for D.C. Juvenile Panel is Out

U.S. Capitol Building

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… Read More

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

Aerial view of DC

  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… Read More

Ode to My Investigator

Aerial view of DC

  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… Read More

On Recusals: Offending the Judge, Protecting the Client

  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… Read More

Dealing with the Parents of a Juvenile Client

  My client’s mother is annoyed with me.   She disagrees with her 16-year-old son’s decision to take his case to trial, and she is convinced I am the one who talked him into it.  She’s partially right; in… Read More