The Kaplan Law Firm Files Confrontation Clause Appeal

The Kaplan Law Firm recently filed an appeal with the D.C. Court of Appeals seeking reversal of our client's conviction for unlawful weapons possession. The case raises an interesting issue under the Constitution's Confrontation Clause about the right of a criminal defendant to confront his (or her) accuser in court. The clause of the Constitution's Sixth Amendment that is at the heart of this appeal, and which is known as the Confrontation Clause, guarantees that, in a criminal case, the…

Sharp Drop in Appeals Reaching DC’s Highest Court

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has made available caseload statistics through the end of 2016.  (I often represent litigants in the Court of Appeals, which is the highest "state" court in the District of Columbia—appeals from this Court go to the United States Supreme Court.)  One surprising trend is a dramatic drop in the Court's caseload over the last several years.  In 2016 1,357 cases were filed with the Court (the overwhelming majority of these cases were appeals)…

Can People Who Think that the Justice System Is Racially Biased Be Excluded from Juries?

Last week I argued an important case, Mason v. United States (No. 15-CF-305), before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  I represented Mr. Mason, an African-American criminal defendant who had been convicted by a District of Columbia Superior Court jury. During jury selection the trial judge had excluded, over a defense objection, a prospective jury member who said under questioning that she thought that she could be fair and impartial in this particular case, but that, in general, she thought that…

Appeals: First Amendment, Discrimination and Criminal Cases

March is turning out to be a  busy month for appellate matters.  The Kaplan Law Firm will have oral arguments in three separate appellate cases, all of which raise important issues of law. On March 21 we have an oral argument before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond in Villa v. CavaMezze Grill, LLC, a Title VII civil rights case. In this case an employer fired an employee (my client) because she reported that another employee had told our client that she…

The Kaplan Law Firm Files Second Appeal in Important First Amendment Matter

I represent a client who was found in 2014 to have committed the crime of stalking because he truthfully told others that another person had had an affair with his wife.  Although what my client said may have embarrassed his wife’s affair partner, nothing he said could be construed as doing anything more than causing embarrassment—certainly, nothing he said constituted a threat or anything that could even be remotely interpreted as a threat.  Nevertheless, the individual named by my client…

Further Briefing in Important Fourth Circuit Civil Rights Case—Villa v. CavaMezze Grill

Opposing counsel in the Villa v. CavaMezze Grill case has filed their brief in opposition to our appeal in this Title VII case, which is currently pending in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and I have filed The Kaplan Law Firm’s reply brief in further opposition to the arguments made by Cava.  As I have written before, my client in this case, Patricia Villa, was fired for reporting that she had been told by another employee that that employee…

Amicus Briefs Filed in Title VII Sex Discrimination/Retaliation Case

The case I mentioned in my June 30 post, Villa v. Cavamezze Grill LLC, is moving forward.  The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers’ Association (MWELA) have filed Amicus briefs supporting my clients’ position. Amicus briefs, also known as friend of the court briefs, are filed by individuals or entities who are not a party to the particular case, but who are concerned that others will be affected by the outcome of the case.…

Appeal Filed in Important Title VII Sex Discrimination/Retaliation Case

I recently filed a brief with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of my client, who was fired from her job as a first line manager at a District of Columbia area restaurant chain for telling top company management that one of her subordinates at the company had reported to her that she had been offered a raise by a senior manager in exchange for sex.  In my view this case has substantial implications for the effective enforcement…

Success in the D.C. Court of Appeals

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has issued a decision in favor of my client on a case involving important First Amendment issues. DISCLAIMER A D.C. Superior Court Judge had ruled that my client had committed the crime of stalking by posting on the internet the fact that a complaining individual had had an affair with my client’s wife.  The complainant was upset that this truthful information had hurt his representation.  The trial court ruled that my client had…

Brief in First Amendment Case Filed

I have filed an appellate brief in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on behalf of my client in what I believe is an important free speech case.  The case deals with the extent that the District’s anti-stalking law can be used to restrict speech and raises important First Amendment issues. I discussed the case in an earlier blog post. Opposing counsel’s brief is due at the end of August.  A redacted copy of the brief I filed is…

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