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Washington DC Criminal Defense Blog

Rape, Sexual Offense, Child Abuse - Admissibility of Prior Sexual Conduct




The Battered Spouse Defense in Homicide-Murder-Manslaughter Prosecutions



Prosecutors are increasing seeking murder or manslaughter charges against dealers of heroin, fentanyl and other opiates when their customers overdose and die. Absent a specific statute authorizing such prosecutions, the viability of bringing murder or manslaughter charges against dealers was brought into question with the April 4, 2018 decision by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ("CSA") in Thomas v. State.

Criminal Defense Law Newsletter - Maryland & 4th Circuit Opinions

A summary of recent appellate cases from the Maryland and Fourth Circuit appellate courts.  These cases review decisions regarding the sufficiency of evidence in child pornograpy distribution cases involving the use of peer-to-peer software programs, search warrants in child pornography cases using new law enforcement techniques, the admissibility of jail calls pursuant to the doctrine of verbal completeness, the use of old prior conviction to impeach a character witness, limitations on the cross-examination of a prosecution witness with respect to pending charges and the definition of a crime of violence for career offender classification under the federal sentencing guidelines.    The full newletter is accessible at this link:  Criminal Law Newsletter - Jan 27 2018

The Rule of Verbal Completeness - A "Grimm" Analysis

In United States v. Bailey, No. Criminal No. PWG-16-0246, 2017 WL 2276849 (D. Md. May 25, 2017), United States District Judge Paul W. Grimm has once again provided guidance to practitioners regarding a rule of evidence that is often troublesome in its application.

Cell Phone Search Warrants

Recently, the Court of Appeals decided two companion cases, Moats vs. State, 2017WL63764567, No. 89, September Term, 2016 and Stevenson vs. State, 2017WL3765549, No. 92, September Term, 2016; both of which considered the type of information necessary to supply probable cause for the issuance of a warrant to search a cell phone.

Child Pornography (CP) Investigations & Prosecutions - Draconian Penalties; Evidence Issues; and Fone v. State & Search Warrant Staleness

An Overview

Search-Frisk & The Odor of Marihuana (continued)

This post updates an earlier post that briefly noted two recent Maryland appellate court opinions discussing when the odor of marihuana emananting from a vehicle would justify the search of a vehicle and/or the frisk of an occupant of the vehicle. With the decriminalization of less than 10 grams of marihuana in Maryland, but with the courts still considering marihuana to be contraband - as one can still be given a civil citation for the possession of less than 10 grams - the police are still authorized to search a vehicle - but the odor of marihuana by itself - at least in Maryland - does not provide a basis for a weapons frisk.   My associate, Megan E. Coleman and I prepared a more detailed analysis of how the opinions in Robinson and Norman have addressed these issues.  Click below to read our analysis. 

If Trump were not Trump he would be prosecuted for obstruction.

It is disturbing to see the excuses offered on behalf of Trump for conduct,  which if engaged in by anyone else, would be prosecuted as a clear effort to impede a federal investigation.  I am sure many of my colleagues who both defend and prosecute in federal criminal cases have often seen persons under invesigation or pending trial locked up and, thereafter, prosecuted for obstruction because of comments to potential witnesses or to investigators suggesting that they not pursue an investigative lead, or back off, or not cooperate.  Comments they made that are less clear re the intent than Trump's and made by persons with less power to reward or punish those who are sought to be influenced than the powers possessed by a president. And, contrary to what some commentators have suggested, at least in my cases - the jury has been instructed that the defendant did not need to know that an official proceeding was pending before a federal grand jury or court.   Trump may get a pass for this - but many others have not - and in the future will not - for less egregious conduct.

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