Archives for Criminal Defense

DISCOVERY UNDER THE JENCKS ACT, LEGAL ELEMENTS OF UNLAWFUL ENTRY STATUTE

The Court of Appeals recently in Rahman v. U.S., addressed the legal elements of the unlawful entry statute as well as addressing the appellant’s discovery requests pursuant to the Jencks act. Factually, appellant was told to leave the premises at a Mcdonald’s location by a special police officer (“SPO”) as it appeared that he was loitering or panhandling at the location. Appellant initially refused to leave but eventually left the premises and returned few minutes later at which time he was arrested for unlawful entry by a police officer. On appeal, the appellant essentially argued that he could not have
Read More

ILLEGAL STOP AND ARREST VALID: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Campbell v. U.S. decided on January 30, 2020, in essence affirmed the trial court’s ruling and convictions denying the ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Factually, Campbell was approached by a police officer in a middle of a night sitting in a stolen car, visibly drinking from an open container of alcohol (vodka bottle).  The critical factual element being that the car was parked in a private church parking lot. Campbell was arrested for POCA (Possession of Open Container of Alcohol), and the ensuing search revealed that the car was stolen and thus was charged with
Read More

SEALING OF AN ARREST RECORD & THE “INTEREST OF JUSTICE” STANDARD: DC COURT OF APPEALS

The Court of Appeals recently in Larracuente v. U.S., determined and defined more precisely application of “Interest of Justice” provision of the sealing of the arrest record Statute. Appellant moved pursuant to D.C. Code § 16-803.02 to seal his records where he had pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute (PWID) marijuana.  The trial court concluded that the government had shown by a preponderance of the evidence that appellant possessed an amount of marijuana that exceeded the amount decriminalized, that is more than two ounces and moreover sealing of the record was not available nor discretionary under the “interest
Read More

4TH AMENDMENT VIOLATION: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Dozier v. U.S., decided on December 5, 2019, reversed and remanded conviction for Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID) due to constitutional violations. Appellant was observed in a high crime area and at night emerging from a dark ally, four Officers in a cruiser entered the ally and two approached asking if they could speak to the appellant, as appellant walked away ignoring the question, the officers persisted asking him if he had any weapons on him which he replied no and whether he would lift his shirt for a visual inspection which the appellant
Read More

ADMISSIBILITY OF PRIOR BAD ACT: DC COURT OF APPEALS REVERSAL

The Court of Appeals in Jackson v. U.S., decided on June 27, 2019, determined whether the trial court had erred in admitting evidence of prior PCP use by the defendant before committing assault with a deadly weapon. (“ADW”). Factually, appellant was convicted of assaulting his roommate with a knife and prior to the trial, the government moved to admit evidence of recent use of PCP to bolster a case for erratic behavior by the defendant prior to the assault. The court admitted the evidence justifying that such would provide context and serve to explain the defendant’s observations, beliefs, and behaviors in
Read More

SEARCH WARRANT BASED ON YOUTUBE VIDEO HELD INVALID

The Court of Appeals in Andrews v. D.C., decided on August 5, 2019, reversed convictions for possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition based on invalidity of underlying search warrant. Factually, the police officer in support of the issuing warrant had stated that in a reviewing a YouTube video, individuals were depicted displaying handguns that appeared to be functional and operable. The officer further had stated that location of the video was recognized as a parking lot at the 3500 block of 6th Street, S.E. and moreover, one of the individuals in the video was recognized to
Read More

RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: UNLAWFUL ENTRY REVERSED

The Court of Appeals in Foster v. U.S., decided on November 7, 2019, reversed and vacated the defendant’s conviction for unlawful entry. Foster who was according to his rental lease part of a housing complex consisting of two distinct units — Hopkins I&II was barred by a security guard from the Hopkins I complex for violating the housing rules and two days thereafter was arrested for an unlawful entry into the complex. Foster argued on appeal that the trial record showed insufficient evidence that Hopkins Apartments consisted of more than one legally distinct DCHA property, especially when considering the lease
Read More

DOUBLE JEOPARDY CLAUSE OF THE 5TH AMENDMENT: DC COURT OF APPEALS

The Court of Appeals in Andre v. U.S., decided on August 19, 2019, determined the scope and implications of the Double Jeopardy Clause. At trial, Andre was convicted of two counts of simple assault and sentenced and served seven days on each count while his case was on appeal.  Due to conflict of interest of his trial counsel, his convictions were overturned on appeal and case was remanded at which time the government moved to prosecute him again on the same changes one more time. Andre argued on appeal that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment barred his
Read More

MPD USE OF PROBATION GPS TRACKING SYSTEM CONSTITUTIONAL: RECENT DC COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in U.S. v. Jackson decided on August 22, 2019, reversed and remanded to the trial court granting of Jackson’s suppression motion for 4th amendment violations. Jackson who was on probation for Robbery was placed by Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency  (“CSOSA”) on GPS tracking system.  The GPS tracking system accessed by MPD revealed and placed him at a scene of another robbery which resulted in him being arrested and charged with that crime. Jackson argued at trial that CSOSA violated his Fourth Amendment rights first by placing him on GPS monitoring without judicial approval and
Read More

COMMUNITY CARETAKING DOCTRINE: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

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
Read More