D.C. skyline

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

Jamison Koehler Legal Concepts/Principles, Opinions/Cases

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 reminds both parties — the inmate and the family member or friend he is speaking with – that the conversation is being …

U.S. Capitol Building

Cold Feet on the Morning of Trial

Jamison Koehler Miscellaneous

It must be pretty intimidating to arrive at the courthouse for trial to find five police officers, an eyewitness, and a complaining witness all sitting in the hallway, laughing and joking with each other and then growing silent as you pass by – all of them there for the sole purpose of testifying against you, their bond a common interest …

U.S. Capitol building

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

Jamison Koehler DUI and Driving Offenses, Trial Advocacy

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.  He kind of swayed.  And he put his hand on the car for support. Q:  This was as he was getting out …

Jefferson and Washington monuments

Gilding the Lily on Cross-Examination

Jamison Koehler Trial Advocacy

After you get what you need on cross-examination, you sit down. The charge is unlawful entry. Both defendants had been issued a barring notice from the Meadowbrook Run Apartments, and the government alleges that the defendants violated this notice by entering an apartment at Meadowbrook Run. During cross-examination, Attorney A gets the police officer to testify that he saw the …

Trial Notebook as Security Blanket

Jamison Koehler Law Practice, Trial Advocacy

I recently served as co-counsel in two juvenile cases with Eddie Ferrer of D.C. Lawyers for Youth.  Although neither case ended up going to trial, you do get a pretty good sense of your colleagues when working together to represent co-defendants. I am always happy when co-counseling with lawyers from the D.C. Public Defender Service — most recently Michael Carter, …

U.S. Capitol Building

Blades v. U.S.: On Cross-Examination and Bias

Jamison Koehler Evidence, Opinions/Cases

The right to cross-examine witnesses is one of the defendant’s most important trial rights.  And, among the areas for cross-examination, what could be more important than bias?  An inability to accurately perceive events could result in an honest mistake.  Bias suggests that the witness might be deliberately coloring the testimony. In Blades v. United States, 25 A.3d 39 (D.C. 2011), …

You Should Be Translating, Not Interpreting

Jamison Koehler Law Practice

During an earlier life, I was a member of the U.S. delegations that negotiated the international ozone and climate treaties. The negotiations often lasted a couple of weeks, with the opening statements alone — from the 100 nations participating in the negotiations – taking up most of the first day. The U.N. provided interpretation in seven languages throughout the negotiations, …