REVERSAL DUE TO FAULTY JURY INTRUCTIONS: RECENT DC COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC CRIMINAL LAWYER

The Court of Appeals in Coley v. U.S., decided on November 15, 2018, reversed several felony convictions due to faulty jury instructions by the trial judge. Initially during the jury polling, one of jurors expressed disagreement with the verdict, which was announced to be unanimous. The trial judge appropriately at that time instructed the jury as such and according to the Jury Instruction 2.603: “[I]n the poll of the jury, it’s become apparent that you may not have reached a unanimous verdict. Now, for this reason I’m going to ask you to return to the jury room for further consideration
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TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) v. TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER (TPO): DC FAMILY LAWYER

Although the Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) and the Temporary Civil Protection Orders (TPO) sound similar, the eligibility, process and enforceability of the orders are vastly different. To be eligible to file for TPO/CPO one must meet either the interpersonal violence, intimate partner violence, or the intrafamily violence criteria. Interpersonal violence is defined as an act or a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed upon a person: With whom the offender shares or has shared a mutual residence; or Who is or was married to, in a domestic partnership with, divorced or separated from, or in a
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CRIMINAL & CIVIL CONTEMPT IN DC: DC FAMILY LAWYER

The contempt powers of the court are divided into both criminal and civil contempt. Generally criminal contempt is reserved where there is willful and blatant violation of court order where as the civil contempt is reserved for non-compliance or neglect of a court order. In another word: Criminal contempt is a violation of the law, a public wrong which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. And the Civil contempt: is a sanction imposed by the court to enforce compliance with a court order or to compensate a party for losses or damages caused by noncompliance with a court
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NEAR ACT IN DC: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC ASSAULT LAWYER

The Court of Appeals in Coleman v. U.S. decided on October 11, 2018, affirmed simple assault convictions against the police officers as well as affirming the trial’s court denial of the self-defense claim. Coleman was questioned by the police officers during a routine traffic stop regarding his tinted car windows. The stop escalated and Coleman both resisted arrest, and assaulted the police officers. He was charged with APO, Assault on Police Officer. The government at trial dropped the Assault on Police Officers (APO) charges to Simple Assault to eliminate the jury demandable offense to non-jury bench trial, which they typically
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ALIMONY PAYMENTS AND THE NEW TAX CODE: DC DIVORCE LAWYER

Tax changes promulgated with introduction of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) in 2017 will affect large groups of population, including couples finalizing their divorce in 2019. Beginning January 1, 2019 the paying spouse will no longer be able take deduct alimony, and the recipient spouse will not need to report alimony as income. That is the alimony payments will be treated same as child support payments. That is, all agreements made or orders entered from that date forward, the party paying alimony will not be able to deduction such payments on his/her tax return. The receiving party will not declare the
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STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: CRIMINAL OFFENSES: DC CRIMINAL LAWYER

In all criminal offenses, it is critical to understand and be cognizant of the statute of limitations for the particular offenses.  Particularly if the matter is under investigation or pending indictment or even if dormant. The time in which an offense is committed that starts the clock for the statute of limitations is defined as: An offense is committed either when every element occurs, or If a legislative purpose to prohibit a continuing course of conduct plainly appears, at the time when the course of conduct, or The defendant’s complicity therein, is terminated. Time generally starts to run on the
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC FAMILY LAWYER

The DC Court of Appeals in IN RE J.M. & D.M. decided on September 20, 2018, affirmed the trial court findings that the permanency goal change to adoption was appropriate, however clarified to certain degree the procedural appeal when the goal change request is a dual-goal, to both reunification and adoption. The Court’s Decision in IN RE TAL in 2016 required and bestowed on parents in a child abuse and neglect proceedings facing a goal change an evidentiary hearing. Specifically, to justify a goal change from reunification to adoption: …the District “must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that
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PUBLIC CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA NON-CUSTODIAL: NEW DIRECTIVE FROM THE MAYOR: DC CRIMINAL LAWYER

The current DC Statute on consumption of marijuana in public is clear and concise categorizing the act as a misdemeanor offense with significant penalties.  However if appears that the Major’s directive issued on September 21, 2018, limits the penalties to a non-custodial arrest and payment of $25 fine for posting and forfeiting. The Statute specifically criminalizes consumption of  marijuana in or upon a public space including: A street, alley, park, sidewalk, or parking area; A vehicle in or upon any street, alley, park, or parking area; or Any place to which the public is invited. For the purposes of this subsection,
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MENS REA NEEDED FOR LEAVING AFTER COLLIDING CONVICTION: DC COURT OF APPEALS: DC DUI LAWYER:

The Court of Appeals in Crawford v. D.C. decided on September 6, 2018, reversed a conviction for Leaving After Colliding (“LAC”) due to lack of sufficient evidence for the conviction. The appellant had argued specifically insufficient evidence to satisfy the mens rea element of the offense, which requires that: The appellant “know[] or ha[ve] reason to believe that his . . . vehicle has been in a collision.” D.C. Code § 50-2201.05c (a). Factually, the appellant was observed by the Police Officers with his vehicle abutting the car in front of him in the parking space and it appearing that
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER: SPECIAL IMMIGRATION JUVENILE STATUS

The Court of Appeals in Benitez v. John Doe, decided on September 6, 2018, reversed the trial court decision in denying an Special Immigration Status for a juvenile (“J.V.B”) subject of this appeal. The “SIJ” statute provides, in relevant part: [A special immigrant juvenile is] an immigrant who is present in the United States: (i) who has been declared dependent on a juvenile court located in the United States or whom such a court has legally committed to, or placed under the custody of, an agency or department of a State, or an individual or entity appointed by a State
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