Successful Motion to Reverse Criminal Conviction Under D.C.’s Innocence Protection Act

I recently prevailed in a motion to have a client’s felony conviction reversed on grounds of actual innocence under the District of Columbia’s Innocence Protection Act (D.C. Code § 22–4135). Disclaimer A jury had convicted my client, who was then represented by different counsel, on charges of failing to appear at a hearing related to pending criminal charges.  Such a failure to appear is a violation of D.C.’s Bail Reform Act.  The client was sentenced to two years’ incarceration for that…

Appellate Case Challenges Constitutionality of the District of Columbia’s Anti-Stalking Law

I currently represent a client (let’s call him “Client”) in an interesting First Amendment case pending before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Another person (let’s call him “Petitioner”) had a brief sexual affair with my client’s spouse.  My client learned about this affair and sent emails to a small number of persons indicating that Petitioner (who he named) had had such an affair.  He also posted several internet blog posts in which he described his feelings, his views…

Matthew Kaplan Appointed to CJA Appeals Panel

I am pleased that I have been appointed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to its Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel.  As an appellate CJA attorney I will represent indigent individuals who have been criminally convicted in federal courts. The appointment came after a lengthy and apparently thorough selection process by the court. The Richmond-based Fourth Circuit is responsible for federal cases in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.  The Courts of Appeals are the intermediate federal appellate courts,…

Arguing Before the D.C. Court of Appeals – Eyewitness Identification

On November 4 I appeared on behalf of my client at an oral argument before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is D.C.’s equivalent of a state supreme court.  At issue was exclusion of expert testimony about the accuracy of witness identification. Disclaimer The central legal dispute in the case, United States v. Parada, No. 12-CF-1583, is whether my client’s criminal conviction arising from an armed robbery should be overturned because of the trial court’s exclusion of expert testimony…

Virginia Class Actions

I am often contacted by potential clients and fellow attorneys about pursuing possible class actions in Virginia.  Most are unaware of a unique hurdle for potential Virginia class action plaintiffs: Virginia’s prohibition on class actions in state court.  Class actions are, however, permitted in Virginia’s federal courts. My name and my firm come up near the top of the list on Internet searches for Virginia class action attorneys.  Presumably, that is because, although I am licensed to practice in both…

Virginia Landlords Are Not Responsible for Safety of their Tenants According to Virginia Supreme Court

A just released Virginia Supreme Court decision will further Virginia’s reputation as a landlord-friendly jurisdiction.  In the case, Steward v. Holland Family Properties, LLC, the state’s highest court upheld a lower court ruling that a landlord was not liable for severe injuries to a child of tenants who rented a single-family home.  The child had ingested lead from peeling lead paint in the home. The landlord had informed the tenants of the possibility of lead in the house prior to…

Virginia Supreme Court Says Default Judgment Can be Entered Against Defendant Who Knows Nothing Of Lawsuit

The message of a somewhat surprising recent Virginia Supreme Court decision, Specialty Hospitals Of Washington v. Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Inc., is clear:  anyone sued in a Virginia court had better file a timely response to the lawsuit—whether or not they actually know that they have been sued. The case arose when Rappahannock Goodwill Industries (RGI) filed a complaint against Specialty Hospitals in Fredericksburg Circuit Court for Specialty Hospitals’ alleged failure to pay for linen and laundry services that RGI had provided…

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