Archives for Criminal Defense

THE DOUBLE JEOPARDY CLAUSE: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in STANLEY MOGHALU v. UNITED STATES, decided on August 13, 2015, clarified preserving the double jeopardy defense to retrial for appellate review. Stanley Moghalu was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm (“UPF”) and carrying a pistol without a license (“CPWL”). The case at the trial level was declared a mistrial twice as the jury could not “return a unanimous verdict that would be anything other than forced.” The first trial the court granted mistrial at the request of defense counsel, and the second trial the court granted a mistrial over defense objection that anti-lock instructions
Read More

RETURN FOR REWARD DEFENSE; NEW COURT OF APPEALS RULING

The Court of Appeals on a second remand on August 20, 2015, in LIHLAKHA v. U.S., clarifies further the return for reward defense for receiving stolen property (RSP) conviction. Lihlakha was convicted at trial for RSP and her defense and arguments on appeal focused on return for reward defense. The Court on the first review outlined for the first time the elements needed to successfully assert the defense: Specifically, the defense will be satisfied if the evidence shows that: “(1) The reward had been announced, or was believed to have been announced, before the property was possessed or agreed to
Read More

DC ASSAULT; RELEVANT STATUTE AND RECENT CASE LAW

The Court of Appeals in IN RE D.P., APPELLANT, decided on August 13, 2015, reversed D.P.’s conviction for aggravated assault and felonious assault (assault with significant bodily injury). The charges stemmed from an assault by a group of three teenagers on a metro bus on M.G., another student. Thus the government charged M.P., I.C. and D.P. with aggravated assault and assault with significant bodily injury. M.P. pled out to simple assault, the case against I.C. was dropped and D.P. proceeded to trial and was convicted on the two counts. Before the Court reversed D.P.’s convictions, the Court outlined the three
Read More

Deferred Prosecution v. Deferred Sentencing Agreements and the Arrest Record – solicitation cases and other misdemeanors in the District of Columbia:

With the serge of recent arrests in the District of Columbia (DC) for sexual solicitation and the undergoing sting operations with undercover police offices it is important to understand the elements of the crime as well as some of defenses available as discussed in depth: https://www.familylawdc.com/dc-prostitution-solicitation-lawyer/ However, this post addresses some of the diversionary options available short of trial and possible consequence on the arrest record, which ideally should be expunged right after the completion of the prosecution particularly for the possible negative inferences they may draw for the current and future employers, among others, as arrest records are public
Read More

OHIO v. CLARK — RECENT SUPREME COURT RULING ON CHILD TESTIMONY: DC FAMILY LAWYER

The U.S. Supreme Court in Ohio v. Clark decided on June 18, 2015, addressed admissibility of the non-testimonial statements in the context of child abuse investigation. Clark was trusted with care of his two children L.P., age 3 and A.T. eighteen months while their mother was engaged in prostitution at the direction of Clark. L.P. was observed at school with a black eye, belt marks on his back and stomach, and bruises all over his body. A.T. after further investigation had two black eyes, a swollen hand, and a large burn on her cheek, and two pigtails had been ripped
Read More

ELONIS v. U.S.: FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTED SPEECH OR CRIMINAL CONDUCT?

The US Supreme Court on June 1, 2015, issued a ruling reversing and remanding the lower court convictions for transmitting threats via Facebook messages. Elonis, an amusement park employee who was going through separation and custody battle with his wife at the time was charged with transmitting threatening messages under 18 U. S. C. §875(c), which makes it a federal crime to transmit in interstate commerce “any communication containing any threat . . . to injure the person of another.” The lower court conviction was based on jury instructions, which did not require proof of intent to issue threats but
Read More

THE DISTRICT COURT STRIKES DOWN A PROVISION IN THE DC HANDGUN LICENSING REGULATION AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

The U.S. District Court in Wrenn v. Linear, issued on May 18, 2015, granted the plaintiff’s preliminary injunction to strike the District’s “good reason/proper reason” statutory requirement before issuing license to carry handguns. In response to the District Court’s decision in Palmer v. Dist. of Columbia, allowing carrying pursuant to the Second Amendment for self defense purposes an operable handgun outside the home (blogged on 9/24/2014), the District redrafted the handgun statute consistent with the decision but adding other limiting language subject of this litigation and the current ruling. Specifically the amended language provided (D.C. Code § 22-4506(a)): “The Chief
Read More

COMMUNITY EXCEPTION TO WARRANTLESS SEARCHES — RECENT COURT DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Steven Davis v. U.S., in an opinion issued on February 26, 2015, expounded and analyzed the doctrine of “community exception” to warrantless search and seizure. Davis was convicted for possession of two zip lock bags of cocaine found in plain view and in his vehicle. The issue on appeal was whether the office had entered Davis’ vehicle pursuant to reasonable exercise of community caretaking function rather than pursuant to a criminal investigation. Factually, the police were alerted when a vehicle was found blocking the entrance to a private apartment building lot. Upon responding, the officer
Read More

RECENT COURT OF APPEALS RULING — CRIMINAL SENTENCING LAWS

In Tibbs v. United States (No. 13-CF-1425), decided on January 15, 2015, the Court of Appeals remanded the matter to the trial court for further consideration due to criminal sentencing irregularities. Defendant Tibbs sought to withdraw a guilty plea to assault with a dangerous weapon (“ADW”), conspiracy to commit ADW, two counts of voluntary manslaughter, and carrying a pistol without a license. At sentencing, and several months after the plea — at the commencement of appellant’s sentencing hearing, appellant orally moved to withdraw the plea as factually unsupported. After the government’s proffer to the offenses committed, defendant Tibbs had asserted
Read More

RECENT COURT OF APPEALS REVERSAL —

The Court in Andrade v. U.S., (No. 13-CM-224), an opinion issued on January 8, 2015, reversed the assault conviction based on erroneous admission of testimonial evidence by the trial court. Specifically, appellant Andrade argued his 6th Amendment right to confront the complaining witness was violating in allowing the witness-complainant’s statement to the police office to be admitted as substantive evidence. The relevant facts are as follows: Ms. Reed (the complainant) had called 911 indicating that her boyfriend Danny Andrade had gotten into an argument with her and that Mr. Andrade “been putting his hands on [Ms. Reed].” Ms. Reed, who
Read More