Archives for criminal law dc

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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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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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS: ASSAULT CONVICTION REVERSED

The Court of Appeals in White v. U.S., decided on May 9, 2019, reversed an aggravated assault conviction while defining and expanding on the elements needed for conviction. There are three levels of assault charges in the District: Simple Assault: the lowest level requires minimal or no injury punishable by 180 days in jail. Assault with “significant bodily injury”: the intermediate assault level requiring by definition an injury that requires hospitalization or immediate medical attention, punishable by three years of jail time. Aggravated assault, serious bodily injury generally defined as: bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness,
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CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER

The Court of Appeals in Toler v. U.S., decided recently determined whether revealing of a social security number during a custodial interrogation was in violation of Miranda rights. Appellant Toler had argued that his firearm convictions must be reversed because he was required to reveal his social security number without a prior  Miranda warning, and also that his convictions for possession of unregistered firearms must be reversed because the government failed to prove an element of the offense, namely that the firearms were not “antique” firearms. In general, routine questions related to the booking process are not considered interrogation under
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REVERSAL DUE TO ERRONEOUS SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE: DC COURT OF APPEALS RECENT DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Jones v. U.S., decided on March 7, 2019 reversed a conviction for armed robbery and assault due to unreliability of the microscopic hair analysis evidence. Factually, defendant was tried in 1996 and convicted of armed robbery and other offenses. The appeal is from the court’s denial of his motions to vacate his convictions pursuant to D.C. Code § 23-110 and for post-conviction DNA testing pursuant to the Innocence Protection Act (IPA). Predominantly at trial the forensic evidence of microscopic hair samples testified to by an FBI agent clinched a conviction. Since 1996, and specifically in a
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ILLEGAL SEARCH AND SEIZURE: RECENT DC COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Posey v. US, decided on February 21, 2019, reversed the trial’s court denial of the suppression motion and thus vacated the conviction. Posey was arrested after the Officer responded to a look out for Robbery suspects.  The look out was vague and nondescript and essentially depicting “a black male wearing black clothes.” Because Posey had fled upon observing the approaching police officer and subsequently searched and a weapon found – the trial court determined that the fleeing from the scene by itself added to the reasonable suspicion criteria for Terry stop and thus search and
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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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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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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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HANDGUN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS LESS RESTRICTIVE NOW: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: WASHINGTON DC CRIMINAL LAWYER

The DC Court of Appeals in Hooks v. U.S., decided on August 30, 2018, in effect modified the DC handgun licensing requirements to be consistent with the D.C Circuit Court Decision in Wrenn. The DC Statute currently applicable to licensing is codified under D.C. Code § 22-4504 (a) and provides: The Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (“Chief”) may, upon the application of a person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the District of Columbia, or of a person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the United States and a license to
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