Archives for dc criminal defense lawyer

DC CIVIL PROTECTION HEARINGS/TRIAL AND DISCOVERY

The Civil Protection filing and litigation although has an expansive reach in enforcing a range of orders, has a limited scope with regards to witness statement under the Jencks Act and generally discovery before the hearing. Moreover, the threshold burden of proof is rather low.  Specifically, the Statute provides: If, after hearing, the judicial officer finds that there is good cause to believe the respondent has committed or threatened to commit a criminal offense against the petitioner or against petitioner’s animal or an animal in petitioner’s household, the judicial officer may issue a protection order that: Directs the respondent to
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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
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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
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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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REVERSAL DUE TO JURY SELECTION RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

The Court of Appeals in Haney v. U.S., decided on April 25, 2019, reversed and remanded the defendant’s weapons’ conviction based on the government’s peremptory jury strikes disproportionately excluded black jurors and black male from the jury pool. It is well established according to Batson rule that purposeful and intentional discrimination based on race or gender in the exercise of peremptory challenges is strictly prohibited. The Supreme Court had articulated in Batson a three-step process for analyzing discriminatory claims: There must be a prima facie showing that a peremptory challenge has been exercised due to race or gender; The prosecution
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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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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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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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JURY DEMANDABLE WHEN DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES:

The DC Court of Appeals in Jean-Baptiste Bado v. U.S., decided on June 21, 2018, reversed the appellant’s conviction for misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor and after a bench trial, on the ground that he was denied the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. The question before the Court was whether the Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to a jury trial to an accused who faces the penalty of removal/deportation when the underlying maximum penalty for the crime was only 180 days of incarceration and not by itself jury demandable. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a
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