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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Securities Fraud: Questioning the Logic of a Criminal Investigation of J.P. Morgan

Press reports indicate that the FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating the huge trading losses at J.P. Morgan Chase. As an attorney who has spent much of his career suing large corporations and financial institutions for securities fraud I have no particular love for J.P. Morgan. But the FBI’s involvement in the case may reflect a troubling trend to criminalize business conduct that gives rise to civil liability, but that probably should not be criminalized. The FBI and…

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