Criminal Law

The Need For Discretion

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, …

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Why It’s Important To Get Drug Lab Info In Drug Cases

To live up to its name, forensic science must conform to the scientific method, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.” The scientific method seeks above all to prove or disprove hypotheses through testing in order to determine whether a particular …

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The “Exigent Circumstances” Exception to the Warrant Requirement in DC

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provides that: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and …

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Lesser Included Offenses and Attempt

In a recent case, the trial judge asked the parties for post-trial briefing on whether Second-Degree Theft is a lesser-included offense of Second-Degree Fraud in DC. A straight-forward question, I thought, and one I believed that the prosecution basically conceded by answering that in its view attempted second-degree theft is a lesser-included offense of second-degree …

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Nothing Good Comes of Failing to Show For A Court Date

Things happen. I know that sometimes, cars break down, urgent doctors’ appointments need to be made, things just slip peoples’ minds. But the consequences of failing to show for your criminal hearing can be dire. (The same holds true in immigration hearings, but with even greater consequences.)  Not only will the judge issue a bench …

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Life After Snitching

In some cases, the prosecution won’t offer any kind of plea bargain without what they call a “mandatory debrief,” which means that they want the defendant to talk to the police before they will offer a deal. So far in my short experience, I have not had any prosecutor actually commit to what kind of …

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