Successful Appeal Sets Important Precedent On Right to Impartial Juries

The Kaplan Law Firm's Matthew B. Kaplan obtained the reversal of his client's criminal conviction in a decision issued today by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals that strengthens the protections afforded by the jury system to criminal defendants.   Our criminal justice system is not always fair, especially when it comes to cases involving defendants who are poor or minorities.  Today's appellate decision holds that, at least in District of Columbia courts, citizens cannot be automatically excluded from juries…

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…

Virginia Court of Appeals Agrees to Review Important Decision on Constitutional Rights

The Virginia Court of Appeals today granted a petition that I filed on behalf of my client, Felecia Amos, asking for a rehearing en banc of the Court’s decision in the Amos v. Commonwealth case.  The Court of Appeals’ initial ruling in the case, which was issued in August by a three judge panel of the Court before Ms. Amos hired me to represent her, upheld an Arlington County Circuit Court judge’s order sentencing Ms. Amos to ten days in…

Due Process in Virginia: Amos v. Commonwealth

Think you have the right to basic due process—such as the right to have an attorney, the right to have notice of the charges against you, the right to gather evidence in your favor and to speak in your defense—before you can be convicted of a crime?  Not in Virginia, at least according to Amos v. Commonwealth, issued earlier this month by the Virginia Court of Appeals. Felecia Amos had been a witness for the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney (Virginia’s…

Real Estate Closings in New York

This weekend’s New York Times has an interesting article on residential real estate closings in New York City. The focus of the article is on disputes that sometimes erupt at closings, but what surprised me was the number of attorneys who are normally present at closings in New York—the buyer and seller have separate attorneys who come to the closing and, apparently, an attorney for each lender involved normally also shows up. And, according to the Times, closings in New…