Archives for Criminal Defense

RECENT COURT OF APPEALS REVERSAL ON INSUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

The Court of Appeals in a recent decision issued on December 19, 2013, James M. Schools v. US (12-CM-1448) reversed the conviction for unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition. Specifically, the jury had convicted the appellant Schools of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of an unregistered firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition. Factually, the defendant was found in the back room of a two bedroom apartment during a search warrant. The apartment was occupied by other individuals, and although the defendant was found in control and possession of the narcotics found, the weapon and ammunition was
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS REMAND ON THE DOCTRINE OF COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL

The recent Court of Appeals decision in Thomas v. United States on October 24, 2013, reiterates the doctrine of collateral estoppel.  The issue in the case was whether a retrial on certain counts was barred due to collateral estoppel.  Thomas was charged initially with five counts.  The first trial resulted in the jury acquitting Thomas of ADW (assault with deadly weapon) and PFCV (possession of firearm during crime of violence), but hung on CPWL (carrying a pistol without a license) and UA (unlawful possession of ammunition). The trial court declared a mistrial on those counts as well as the fifth
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RECENT SUPREME COURT DECISION LEGALIZING DNA SWAP UPON ARREST

The US Supreme Court on June 3, 2013 in Maryland v. King (No. 12–207) and in a 5-4 narrow decision legalized taking the arrestee’s DNA sample along with the fingerprinting and mug shots. The case was initiated in the MD State court from the collection of DNA in 2009 from Alonzo Jay King Jr. after his arrest on assault charges in Wicomico County, Md.  King’s DNA sample collected by swabbing of his cheek, positive matched evidence from a 2003 rape case, and he was convicted of that crime which was unresolved. The MD Court of Appeals ruled that the State
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DC COURT OF APPEALS REVERSES CONVICTION DUE TO UNCORROBORATED CONFESSION:

The Court of Appeals recently in IN RE KA (No. 10-FS-1614, Feb. 2013) reversed K.A.’s weapons possession charges focusing on the governing legal principles of convictions based on confessions alone and the necessary corroboration in support thereof. The Court reiterated the long established Supreme Court legal principle, which requires confession to be corroborated in order to “forestall convictions based on extrajudicial confessions the reliability of which is a matter of suspicion.” Essentially in cases were conviction is based solely on a confession, self made statement, the government is required to introduce substantial independent evidence which would tend to establish the
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THE DC COMPREHENSIVE IMPAIRED DRIVING ACT: DC DWI/DUI LAWYER

This blog highlights some of the drastic changes to the drinking and driving law in the District.  The DC Comprehensive Impaired Driving Act of 2012 increased significantly (doubled) the penalties for drinking and driving and also increased the mandatory minimum sentences as such. Accordingly the first offense conviction on DUI/DWI now carries the same penalties as most criminal misdemeanors, a maximum of: 180 days/$1000 fines. The minimum statutory imposed incarceration even for the first time offenders was also doubles based on the blood alcohol level/content commonly referred to as BAC.  That is a BAC of 0.08 or more is considered
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DC TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER/CIVIL PROTECTION ORDER TPO/CPO

LEGAL ELEMENTS Generally a TPO petition/affidavit is filed under oath attesting that the safety and welfare of the petitioner/affiant and/or a household member is imminently endangered by the respondent’s conduct and thus an immediate relief in form of a court order is needed to protect the petitioner and other listed members of the family.  The initial hearing is generally ex parte and almost always the petition is granted as long as sufficient facts are alleged.  Within 14 days of the issuance of the TPO order, the court will set the matter for a CPO hearing and the respondent would be
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MOTION TO SEAL DC CRIMINAL ARREST OR OTHER PUBLIC RECORDS:

In the District, depending on the outcome of a criminal case, there are various formulas used to seal arrest and other generated criminal records.  This blog will address four main statutorily authorized procedures and the requirements thereto: 1)   Sealing the record when case dismissed before trial 2)   Sealing record based on innocence 3)   Sealing record post trial with a non-guilty verdict 4)   Post conviction filing to seal record 1) Sealing of the Arrest Records Motion to seal an arrest record may be file by any person arrested for an offense whose prosecution/case has been terminated without conviction and before trial.
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LEGAL NEWS MAY 2012

In re C.L.O., No. 11-FS-898 (Decided April 12, 2012) This new case from the D.C. Court of Appeals addresses an unwed, noncustodial father’s challenge to the adoption of his child.  Available at: http://tiny.cc/dv9bdw. Youths Arrested for D.C. Robberies Up for 4th Straight Year (Washington Examiner) Arrests of youths for robberies in the District were up 17 percent.  Available here. Families Race to Adopt Before Tax Credit Ends (Reuters) The credit is set to expire on December 31, 2012.  Available here. Breaking Down Barriers so Foster Kids can Find a Family (CNN.com) Making adoption more accessible for same-sex couples.  Available here. Parents
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DC Drinking and Driving Implied Consent Statute; submit or not to the blood alcohol content test?

Upon being stopped for suspected drinking and driving, and before being administrated or submitting to alcohol/drug detection devices, the police officer has to inform you explicitly as to your right to refuse test submission pursuant to DC Implied Consent Act. DC Statute Sec. 50-1905 makes it clear that refusal to submit to two chemical tests pursuant to Sec. 15-1902 (blood, urine, or breath), will result in an automatic suspension of the driving privileges in the District for a period of 12 months.  Before suspension, the arresting officer has to submit an affidavit stating that the implied consent act was explained, and
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How our expectations of privacy has been morphed by the technology and its widespread development

The US Supreme Court will soon address the legality of allowing the police to monitor the movements of the US mobile phone users without a warrant. The issue in the case before the Supreme Court in US v. Jones is whether the police officers can track suspects’ car via a GPS device without first obtaining a warrant.  In that case, the suspect was surveilled for some 28 days by the law enforcement GPS device planted without a warrant.  The question before the Court there is whether the defendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy as his car was at all
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