Archives for Criminal Defense

FACEBOOK v. SUBPOENA: RECENT DC COURT OF APPEALS

The Court of Appeals in Facebook v. Wint, decided on January 3, 2019, determined and analyzed if a criminal defendant is entitled to issue a criminal subpoena on a provider (here Facebook) to obtain certain communications. Specifically, Mr. Wint charged with multiple murders requested the trial Judge to authorize defense subpoenas duces tecum on Facebook for records, including communications relating to certain accounts. Facebook objected pursuant to the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), arguing that Facebook was prohibited from disclosing such information in response to a criminal defendant’s subpoena. The trial court approved the subpoena request and held Facebook in civil
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SETTING A CRIMINAL CONVICTION ASIDE UNDER THE DC YOUTH ACT

Under the DC Youth Rehabilitation Act, if a youth, defined as individual within the ages of 15-24, is deemed eligible under the Act and hence sentenced under the Act, upon completion of the sentence the conviction would be automatically vacated. Moreover, sentences under the Youth Act are more geared toward probation rather than incarceration.  That is, if the court determines that a youth offender would be better served by probation instead of incarceration, the court has the discretion and motivation to suspend the imposition of sentence and place the youth offender on probation. The Statute generally requires the youth offender
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CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE STALKING STATUTE: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Beachum v. US decided on December 20, 2018, analyzed and ruled on whether the DC Stalking Statute as written was constitutional. Section 22-3133 (a)(3) in pertinent parts provides that: It is unlawful for a person to purposefully engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual . . . [t]hat the person should have known would cause a reasonable person in the individual’s circumstances to: (A) Fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person; (B) Feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or (C) Suffer emotional distress. The appellant argued
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: REVERSAL DUE TO ERROR IN LAW

The Court of Appeals in Solon v. US decided on November 29, 2018, reversed a disorderly conduct conviction as it disagreed but the trial court’s statutory interpretation. Solon had intermingled with the Climate Movement March carrying signs in support of the administration and generally causing agitation and stir among the demonstrators. She was ultimately put under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct as well as two assault charges again two individuals. The DC disorderly conduct statute (D.C. Code § 22-1321 (a)(1) provides: in any place open to the general public, . . . it is unlawful for a person to
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REVERSAL DUE TO FAULTY JURY INTRUCTIONS: RECENT DC COURT OF APPEALS DECISION:

The Court of Appeals in Coley v. U.S., decided on November 15, 2018, reversed several felony convictions due to faulty jury instructions by the trial judge. Initially during the jury polling, one of jurors expressed disagreement with the verdict, which was announced to be unanimous. The trial judge appropriately at that time instructed the jury as such and according to the Jury Instruction 2.603: “[I]n the poll of the jury, it’s become apparent that you may not have reached a unanimous verdict. Now, for this reason I’m going to ask you to return to the jury room for further consideration
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CRIMINAL & CIVIL CONTEMPT IN DC: DC FAMILY LAWYER

The contempt powers of the court are divided into both criminal and civil contempt. Generally criminal contempt is reserved where there is willful and blatant violation of court order where as the civil contempt is reserved for non-compliance or neglect of a court order. In another word: Criminal contempt is a violation of the law, a public wrong which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. And the Civil contempt: is a sanction imposed by the court to enforce compliance with a court order or to compensate a party for losses or damages caused by noncompliance with a court
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NEAR ACT IN DC: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC ASSAULT LAWYER

The Court of Appeals in Coleman v. U.S. decided on October 11, 2018, affirmed simple assault convictions against the police officers as well as affirming the trial’s court denial of the self-defense claim. Coleman was questioned by the police officers during a routine traffic stop regarding his tinted car windows. The stop escalated and Coleman both resisted arrest, and assaulted the police officers. He was charged with APO, Assault on Police Officer. The government at trial dropped the Assault on Police Officers (APO) charges to Simple Assault to eliminate the jury demandable offense to non-jury bench trial, which they typically
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STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: CRIMINAL OFFENSES:

In all criminal offenses, it is critical to understand and be cognizant of the statute of limitations for the particular offenses.  Particularly if the matter is under investigation or pending indictment or even if dormant. The time in which an offense is committed that starts the clock for the statute of limitations is defined as: An offense is committed either when every element occurs, or If a legislative purpose to prohibit a continuing course of conduct plainly appears, at the time when the course of conduct, or The defendant’s complicity therein, is terminated. Time generally starts to run on the
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PUBLIC CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA NON-CUSTODIAL: NEW DIRECTIVE FROM THE MAYOR: DC CRIMINAL LAWYER

The current DC Statute on consumption of marijuana in public is clear and concise categorizing the act as a misdemeanor offense with significant penalties.  However if appears that the Major’s directive issued on September 21, 2018, limits the penalties to a non-custodial arrest and payment of $25 fine for posting and forfeiting. The Statute specifically criminalizes consumption of  marijuana in or upon a public space including: A street, alley, park, sidewalk, or parking area; A vehicle in or upon any street, alley, park, or parking area; or Any place to which the public is invited. For the purposes of this subsection,
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MENS REA NEEDED FOR LEAVING AFTER COLLIDING CONVICTION: DC COURT OF APPEALS: DC DUI LAWYER:

The Court of Appeals in Crawford v. D.C. decided on September 6, 2018, reversed a conviction for Leaving After Colliding (“LAC”) due to lack of sufficient evidence for the conviction. The appellant had argued specifically insufficient evidence to satisfy the mens rea element of the offense, which requires that: The appellant “know[] or ha[ve] reason to believe that his . . . vehicle has been in a collision.” D.C. Code § 50-2201.05c (a). Factually, the appellant was observed by the Police Officers with his vehicle abutting the car in front of him in the parking space and it appearing that
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