RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: EQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF MARITAL PROPERTY NOT NECESSARILY EQUITABLE

The Court of Appeals on April 20, 2017, in Fleet v. Fleet; reversed and remanded the trial Judge’s ruling on division of marital property and award of portion of a retirement account. Mr. Fleet specifically on appeal challenged the court‘s distribution of a portion of the marital home and Mr. Fleet‘s retirement account to his ex-wife, appellee Ericka Fleet. He contended the trial court applied improper legal   presumption of equal rather than equitable distribution of property in awarding 50 percent of the equity of the home to Ms. Fleet. Mr. Fleet also argued on appeal that the trial court did
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RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY ELEMENTS; COURT OF APPEALS REVERSAL

The Court of Appeals in Williams v. United States decided on March 23, 2017, reversed the conviction for receiving stolen property and remanded the case to the trial court. The underlying facts were that four men had approached a police office to borrow his phone to and to report a robbery. The next day the same officer detained and searched the defendant who was found in possession of four identification cards that matched the same four men who had approached the officer earlier. The trial court found the circumstantial evidence to be compelling enough to warrant the conviction. Specifically, the
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JURY MISCONDUCT; RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Poth v. United States decided on December 29, 2016, remanded the case for further proceeding to the trial court due to jury misconduct. Factually, after trial and conviction, the defendant’s counsel learned that two of the jurors had made material omissions in their juror questioner in that one had not disclosed prior felony conviction, a sex offender — and the other juror had omitted that she was a complaining witness in two separate criminal cases. The defense counsel subsequently filed a motion for a new trial and to set aside the conviction pursuant to Super.
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: 4TH AMENDMENT VIOLATION

The Court of Appeals in Albert Jones v. United States, decided on February 23, 2017, reversed a possession of cocaine charge as the evidence was obtained in violation of the defendant’s 4th amendment rights. Jones was approached by two police officers in a narrow ally common for drug use or sale. The officers had remained in the cruiser while approaching Jones who was on foot with no articulable suspension other than Jones having a Newport container on his right hand and moving it to his back as he was approached by the officers. After few basic questions name address date
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: GOAL CHANGE FROM REUNIFICATION TO ADOPTION NOW APPEALABLE

The DC Court of Appeals in: IN RE TA.L.; IN RE A.L.; IN PETITION OF R.W. & A.W.; IN RE PETITION OF E.A.; ADA-115-09; A.H. AND T.L. – decided on December 8, 2016, opined a significant decision in extending and preserving parental rights in the context of adoptions. Here the parents were adjudicated as neglectful and the children were subsequently placed in a foster home. Approximately within a year of the placement, and during a permanency hearing, the goal was changed from reunification to adoption. The goal change from reunification to adoption and the permanency goal change without affording the
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION

The Court of Appeals in Lesher v. United States, decided on December 1, 2016, addressed and highlighted legal elements for constructive possession of a controlled substance in affirming the trial court decision. Lesher was found guilty of attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (marijuana) (“attempted PWID”) and possession of drug paraphernalia (“PDP”). He argued on appeal that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the convictions and that the trial court erred by allowing the police officer to testify about the results of a field test. The facts were as follows: pursuant to a valid search warrant the
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION; INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL

In SURUR FATUMABAHIRTU v. UNITED STATES decided on November 3, 2016, the Court of Appeals reversed A conviction for attempted possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to sell due to ineffective assistance of counsel and mistaken identity. It was alleged that Ms. Surur was the gas station clerk who sold paraphernalia to an undercover officer. In short, the Court concluded that absent defense counsel’s constitutionally deficient performance by failing to investigate a mistaken-identification defense – there is factual and reasonable probability that a reasonable fact finder would have had a reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant had the necessary
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: IMMUNITY WHEN IT IS REQUIRED

The Court of Appeals in KEVIN YOUNG v. UNITED STATES, decided on July 28, 2016, highlighted and analyzed factual circumstances in which granting immunity to a witness is required by the government. Mr. Young was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute (PDWID) liquid PCP and was accordingly convicted at trial. Before trial, the defendant’s nephew indicated that if he were granted immunity from criminal prosecution – he would testify that he was the last person who drove the vehicle where the drugs were discovered. The government did not offer immunity and the trial court did not require
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THEFT: RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY: IDENTITY THEFT

This blog outlines statutory elements as well as the penalties enumerated for these offense. THEFT FIRST AND SECOND DEGREES: Theft in DC is generally defined as wrongful possession and control over property belonging to others. Specifically, one commits theft by wrongfully obtaining or using property belonging to others with intent to either deprive the owner of a right or the benefit of the property, or to exercise control and appropriate the property for his own use or a third party – still depriving the owner the use of his/her property. Wrongful obtaining and using is statutorily defined as: 1) taking/exercising
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: INEVITABLE DISCOVERY DOCTRINE

In NYIA GORE V. UNITED STATES, decided on August 18, 2016, the DC Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for destruction of property as the trial court should have granted the appellant’s motion to suppression evidence based on 4th Amendment violations. The facts of the case stemmed from a domestic dispute where the appellant’s boyfriend complained of the appellant destroying his property inside a motel room that they shared. Officers responded to the scene and upon questioning the appellant and without express consent of the appellant entered the room searched and recovered destroyed property and consequently charged the appellant. The
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