COMMUNITY CARETAKING DOCTRINE: WASHINGTON DC CRIMINAL LAWYER

The Court of Appeals in McGlenn v. U.S., decided on July 19, 2019, expanded and defined “community caretaking doctrine” in holding that an arrest and seizure of the defendant was justified. A 911 call reported assault in progress and upon arriving at the scene the Officers came in contact with the defendant outside a housing complex.  Defendant appeared intoxicated and under the influence of illegal substances mainly PCP. It was determined quickly by the Officers that McGlenn had not assaulted anyone inside the complex and was only acting erratically.  Defendant’s mother residing there had originated the 911 call. The trial
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CHILD CUSTODY ORDER CHANGE DURING CIVIL CONTEMPT HEARING: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Cheek v. Edwards decided on September 5, 2019, reversed and remanded a change of custody order in the midst of a civil contempt hearing. After holding a custody hearing, the trial court had decided and ordered shared physical and legal custody among parents even after considering the allegation of domestic violence.  But before issuance of a final order, the mother-Edwards filed a civil contempt motion alleging that the father had violated the order against not assault, stalking and harassment in being arrested for domestic violence and assault against her. The trial court while addressing the
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RECOVERING ATTORNEY FEES IN FAMILY CASES: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Khawam v. Wolfe decided on August 22, 2019, delineated all legal theories available to recover attorney’s fees in a child custody and by extension in relating family matters. Here, Wolfe moved to recover attorney’s fees ($700K) against Khawam for a rather protracted and vexatious litigation and under three theories: Common law theory of “necessaries” which permits an award of attorney’s fees in a child-custody case if the court finds that engaging an attorney was necessary to protect the interests of the child; The “bad faith” exception which permits recovering fees against a party who has
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ADMISSIBILITY OF AN OUT OF COURT STATEMENT IN TRIAL: HEARSAY EXCEPTIONS

In both criminal trials as well as the civil cases often the outcome hinges on a witness statement that is hearsay (out of court statement) but admissible under one of the exceptions. The Court of Appeals in Sims v. U.S., decided on August 15, 2019, expanded and explained in details the admissibility of the “present sense impression” exception to the hearsay rule. Sims was convicted of murder at trial and a significant corroborating evidence was introduced through the present sense impression statement/exception to the hearsay rule. One of witnesses at trial testified that he arrived to the scene shortly after
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LEGAL ELEMENTS FOR CHILD’S NAME CHANGE PETITION AFTER DC DIVORCE

The Court of Appeals in Melbourne v. Taylor[1], analyzed and opined on the legal standard for a parent to change the child’s name after separation and divorce. The general legal standard for a name change petition by either parents after separation or divorce is the best interests of the child criteria as listed in defined in the legal custody statute § 16-831: The child’s need for continuity of care and caretakers, and for timely integration into a stable and permanent home, taking into account the differences in the development and the concept of time of children of different ages; The
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DC DUI RECENT CASELAW: WITHDRAW GUILTY PLEA

The Court of Appeals in Maddux v. D.C, decided on July 25, 2019, considered whether the defendant should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to DUI after sentencing. Before sentencing the burden on the defendant is “a fair and just reason” while after sentencing the burden elevated to “to correct manifest injustice, that is, justice demands withdrawal in the circumstances of the individual case. Maddux’s central argument was that the Magistrate Judge pushed and coerced plea bargaining by threatening to detain him pending trial and pre-trial while making clear he would be treated as a first-time offender with a
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APPELLATE PROCESS IN THE FAMILY CASES

In most family cases, the litigation does not and should not end by the Associate Judge or the Magistrate Judge’s final ruling. As these cases are not jury demandable, often times the assigned Judge may issue multiple rulings, including final decree of divorce, division of property, alimony and child support as well as the physical and legal custody of the children.  Significant and life altering decisions and all by a single Judge who may be subjectively objective. And although most family judges are experienced, fair and equitable in dispensing decisions well supported in fact and law – there are cases
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BALLISTIC IMAGING EVIDENCE — DISPOSITIVE? NOT EXACTLY …

The Court of in Williams v. U.S., decided on June 27, 2019, reiterated the legal standard for admissibility and reliability of the ballistic scientific evidence. Williams was convicted of felony murder and one of key pieces of evidence against him was a testimony of the ballistic expert who had matched the toolmarks of a weapon found in the defendant’s home against the bullet shells found at the crime scene.  The expert at trial had testified with certainty that the ballistic imaging was a 100 percent match. The Court of Appeals held that there was a lack of scientific data to
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DC CHILD SUPPORT & STATUTE OF LIMITATION

The Court of Appeals in Massey v. Massey, decided on June 20, 2019, highlighted statute of limitation on child support payments. Massey who owed over several thousand dollars of arrears in child support had petitioned the court for his support payment to be erased relying on the “Debt Statute of Limitations”. The Court of Appeal affirming the lower court decision ruled that essentially the debt of child support in arrears would be erased after the twelve year statutory period from the last payments due. Specifically, support payments constitute judgment debts as each installment becomes due and payable.  As such, the
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ASSAULT CHARGE REVERSED DUE TO 6TH AMENDMENT VIOLATION

The Court of Appeal in Green v. U.S., decided on June 13, 2019, reversed a simple assault conviction due to defendant’s 6th Amendment violation. Green was arrested after allegations of assault by his girlfriend, there was a contemporaneous 911 tape shortly after the assault reporting such. Green alleged at trial self-defense and that the complainant was the first aggressor. Defense counsel used portions of the 911 tape recording to challenge the credibility of the complainant.  The government in turn admitted the entire 911 tape into the record and defense counsel requested re-direct of the witness based on the entire 911
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