The District of Columbia Office of Police Complaints just published new policy recommendations that would have police officers wear on-body cameras. You can find the policy recommendations here. As the Office of Police Complaints recommendations state, there was a study of the effects of the use of these cameras in Rialto, California. This study found that “the devices appeared to cut down on the number of incidents involving the use of force while also reducing the number of complaints filed against officers. Specifically, the Rialto study showed that the devices brought down the rate at which police force was used during interactions with citizens.”
This would seem to be a very positive development. I am curious about the civil-liberties groups that the policy recommendations document refer to that oppose this measure – one would think one of the most important civil liberties to be concerned about is the freedom from being beaten by the police and then being falsely charged with Assaulting a Police Officer (APO).
I have written before how in criminal drug prosecutions, the government analyst should be cross-examined and their case file and other information should be requested to prepare a defense case. A colleague sent me a great example of this effort paying off.
D-L Color Test of Three Suspected Marijuana Samples
A chemist at the DEA Mid-Atlantic Laboratory wrote in a report that three samples suspected to be marijuana turned purple in a Duquenois-Levine color test. The problem is that the picture of the test (not included in the report but in the analyst’s case-file) showed only one sample that might conceivably indicate the sample was marijuana (and even that one is weak). Continue reading
Posted in Criminal Law
Tagged DC, District of Columbia, Drug Cases, Evidence, Jury Trials, Maryland, Misdemeanors, Pre-trial, Scientific Evidence, Trial, Trials, Washington
Unlike every other drug you can (illegally) possess in the District, the D.C. Council has made possession of any amount of liquid PCP a felony punishable by up to 3 years and/or $3000 fine.* In part, this was because the D.C. Council felt that PCP is a more dangerous drug than other so-called “hard drugs,” in that the Council believes that:
Although a person might commit a crime related to heroin or cocaine (usually a robbery to obtain the money to purchase the heroin or cocaine), individuals often commit crimes because they are on PCP. PCP give users the feeling of strength and invulnerability.
Obviously, the D.C. Council has collectively forgotten the ’80′s and the heyday of powder cocaine. Anyway, the D.C. Council then goes on to list several bizarre crimes committed on PCP as testified to by Patricia Riley, special council to the U.S. Attorney for D.C. Ms. Riley testified that:
A friend I talked to about this testimony this morning remembered a case where a man stabbed his girlfriend 57 times. I remember a case where a woman put her baby in the microwave and turned it on.
There was no support or testimony about any actions Ms. Riley may have taken to verify that these acts actually occurred. Unsupported urban legends don’t belong in sworn testimony to the D.C. Council. Continue reading
A colleague recently asked me whether the DC post-and-forfeit procedure after arrest is properly considered a conviction under federal and immigration law. The simple answer is that the post-and-forfeit procedure does not equate to a conviction. Continue reading
Recently, in browsing a well-known local lawyer’s website, I found the following “News” article on their blog:
Attorney X convinced a [local] prosecutor to dismiss Armed Robbery charges, all felonies, and all gun charges, despite the defendant being caught nearly red-handed with a shotgun in his fleeing vehicle.
The defendant plead to Second Degree Assault, a misdemeanor, giving him a strong chance to avoid certain deportation that he would have faced with any felony or gun charge. He will be eligible for parole in one month.
While there may be some ethical concern over publicizing past successes without adequately informing potential clients that there is no guarantee of such success in any particular case, that is not my main concern. The biggest problem with this self-serving news article is that it may harm the client in the future. Continue reading
Posted in Criminal Law, Immigration
Tagged Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, Criminal Immigration, DC, District of Columbia, Felonies, Immigration, Immigration Court, Maryland, Removal Defence, Washington
I have an upcoming merits hearing in the Baltimore Immigration Court for a Jehovah’s Witness seeking asylum from Eritrea. I plan to present an opening argument if the judge allows (not all do). For those unfamiliar with Immigration Court, these are bench trials in the nature of evidentiary hearings before an administrative judge. These hearings are usually just a few hours long, and there is a DHS ICE lawyer who will require the asylum-seeker to meet his or her burden of proof of eligibility. I am posting my draft opening argument because it illustrates many of the reasons I am so proud to participate in the asylum process. Asylum is truly an example of America’s greatness. It will be something like the following:
Posted in Immigration
Tagged Asylum, Baltimore, DC, EOIR, Eritrea, Immigration, Immigration Court, Jehovah's Witnesses, Maryland, Religious Persecution, Washington