Criminal Defense

Texas Bill Would Ban “Affluenza” Defense

If you committed a crime in Texas and are planning to ask for leniency because you were raised in a wealthy and privileged household, you might want to hurry. This is assuming you actually need to ask, which in most…


Court Unconvinced by Lawyer Dressed as Thomas Jefferson

Today in Least Surprising Updates:  The Kansas Supreme Court unanimously held on November 14 that Dennis Hawver would be disbarred for violating <stops to count> seven ethical or court rules when representing a defendant who was ultimately sentenced to death….


Beer Verdict Reversed in Alcohol Case

The Journal Sentinel's headline for this one, "Judge Beer's verdict for underage drinker goes flat on appeal," is at least as good as mine and more descriptive. (Thanks, Scott.) Judge James Beer did indeed rule in favor of someone caught drinking…


The Defendant Seems to Have Left, Your Honor

Here's a criminal-defense strategy you might not have considered: just get up and walk out. They certainly won't be expecting that. And probably for that reason, it's worked at least three times. At least temporarily. The first example I know of was…


Larry Craig Can’t Catch a Break

First the guy in the stall next to him turns out to be an undercover cop, then they won't let him withdraw his guilty plea, then he has to retire from the Senate, now they're all "you can't use campaign…


Legally Dead Man Sentenced to Be Actually Dead

After I reported on the case of Donald Miller, the Ohio man who failed to convince a judge he should not be considered legally dead ("'No, You're Still Deceased,' Judge Tells Dead Man" (Oct. 10, 2013)), several people wrote in to…


Supreme Court: Want to Search a Cellphone? “Get a Warrant.”

Something seems very wrong here, because the report is that the Supreme Court has unanimously held in Riley v. California (NYT, SCOTUSblog, opinion) that the police need to get a warrant before rummaging through the cellphone of someone they've arrested. Have…



A Good Reason Not to Tattoo “MURDER” on Your Neck

Can you guess? It's because such a tattoo might unduly influence a jury if you are, at some point, charged with murder. At least that was the argument made recently in Barton County, Kansas (Great Bend Tribune), by the defense…


Baby Walks

According to Newsweek Pakistan: A court on Saturday threw out charges of attempted murder against a nine-month-old baby, in a case that highlighted endemic flaws in Pakistan’s legal system and provoked widespread ridicule. The former suspect's bail application has also…