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…

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…

New DC Superior Court Debt Collection Practice Ignores the Law

In litigating throughout the country over the last decade, I have found that courts and court clerks sometimes impose their own practices on litigants, practices not supported by, and sometimes directly in conflict with, relevant law, including the court’s own formal rules.  A new procedure recently adopted by the DC Superior Court clerk’s office is a good example—the procedure reduces the clerk’s workload, but it violates the law. I am pursuing collection lawsuits in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of…

Problems With the DC Courts’ Website

For some inexplicable reason the DC courts’ website (www.dccourts.gov) is not properly indexed by Google or Bing. Although searches related to the DC courts will pull up hits on both Bing and Google that point to specific web pages on the DC courts’ website, these hits usually point to pages on the court system’s old website, a site that has not existed for years. Clicking one of these links brings one to http://www.dccourts.gov/oldsite.html with a suggestion that the searcher should…