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

Bickering Over Basic Facts on Cross-Examination

U.S. Capitol Building

I like the government witnesses who fight with you on cross-examination, refusing to acknowledge even the most basic facts, like whether a particular street goes north-south or east-west.  It is as though any concession at all to the… Read More

Trial Transcript: On the Definition of “Stuporous”

DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I noticed that you checked the box for “stuporous” on the police report. OFFICER:  Yes sir. Q:  You also used the term on direct. A:  Yes sir. Q:  You obviously thought that this was an important… Read More

Trial Transcript: Initial Observations/Probable Cause to Arrest in DUI Case

U.S. Capitol building

Q:  You testified that my client stumbled as he got out of the car that night. A:  That’s right. Q:  What do you mean by “stumbled?” A:  I don’t know.  He stumbled. Q:  Did he fall? A:  No…. 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

Cross Examinations. Directs, too.

U.S. Capitol building

“No questions, Your Honor.” What could be more satisfying to say after your opponent has completed his direct examination than those four simple words? It is a challenge, a slap in the face with a folded glove.  It… Read More

Cross-Examining a Prosecutor

Jefferson Memorial

  I have been called to testify in a criminal case. A couple of weeks ago I represented a woman seeking a civil protection order against a former boyfriend. With the boyfriend now facing criminal charges for contempt… Read More

Brilliant Trial Lawyer or Simple Ass?

  MR. KOEHLER:  Objection.  Relevance. THE COURT:  Mr. Koehler, you can sit down. MR. KOEHLER:  Your honor, this is absolutely ridiculous. MR. RIORDAN:  No, it’s not. THE WITNESS:  No, it’s not. MR. KOEHLER:  It is completely irrelevant. THE… Read More

On Police Officers and Other Bullies

  I am sitting in JM-15 at D.C. Superior Court watching a Georgetown University law student cross-examine a police officer on a drug case. The officer is doing the old “dumb officer” routine; that is, he can’t seem… Read More

Sometimes A Guilty Verdict Is a Win (At Least That Is What I Tell Myself)

D.C. skyline

  Although Virginia juries have a reputation for being unforgiving, I have also been told that juries in Prince William County can be pretty unpredictable. Going into trial yesterday, my client was facing a mandatory 5-year sentence for… Read More