MENU

Search

Jimmy Carter “was thankful that although my profession was that of a military man – commander in chief of the armed forces, prepared to defend my nation with maximum force if I had to – I was able to go through my entire term in office without firing a bullet, dropping a bomb or launching a missile.”

Including while away for Thanksgiving, I missed the American Civil Liberties Union‘s assertion that the U.S. Defense Authorization Bill (at pp. 359-64 here) empowers the military domestically to detain United States citizens. Please urge your senators now to vote for the Mark Udall Amendment, geared to reverse such...

Pentagon (From National Reconnaissance Office’s website). Washingtonian magazine includes me in its most recent listing of the area’s top military lawyers. My litigation work involving the military has involved defending military members in criminal court (including addressing the landmines that a conviction might have on their security...

Virginia assault is a damning accusation, says Fairfax criminal defense lawyerVirginia assault -- also known as assault and battery ("A&B") -- is among the most damning misdemeanors that a person could be charged with. As a Fairfax assault lawyer and Virginia criminal attorney, I know that an A&B charge calls for a vigorous defense, not only because of the potential criminal court penatlies, but also because of the potential adverse collateral consequences to one's security clearance, military status, healthcare licensing, immigration, and other critical aspects of a Virginia criminal defendant's life. Today's blog entry is on assault defense and on dealing with complainants who want to dismiss the A&B charge.Can a Virginia assault prosecution arise even if the caller to the police simply wanted to quiet the situation?Very often, the person calling the police about an argument or other tense situation does so not with the intention nor expectation of a Virginia assault prosecution, but instead hoping to diffuse the situation. The person calling the police under such circumstances ordinarily is the person who becomes the complaining witness for the prosecution, the person who gets arrested for A&B, or a purported witness. Making this and many other phone complaints to the police can be like setting a forest fire, taking all decisions

President Trump prides himself in talking outrageously. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that when Donald Trump speaks in disregard of the rule of law and free speech and free press, that can lead police and mobs to disregard those rights as well. Plenty of my criminal defense and DUI clients v0ted for Trump and will vote for him again, whether out of choosing him as the lesser of two evils, or truly embracing his agenda. They are among those who can best convey some sense to Trump that he went overboard in mocking MSNBC reporter Ali Veshi for getting hit by a rubber bullet while doing his job.

Lessons from the August 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki continue coming my way over the years. Yesterday, on the 75th anniversary of the United States military's atomic bombing of Hiroshima, I read a Facebook friend's posting saying: "Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds," a quote from atomic bomb-creating Manhattan Project leader J. Robert Oppenheimer. Why I never heard this quote before is beyond me, when considering my fascination with Oppenheimer's facility with languages to the point that he would sometimes learn enough of another language with the primary goal of reading one or more books in that original language. What an irony that he later lost his security clearance during Congressional witch hunts, over his prior involvement with communism, after mistakenly reassuring Albert Einstein over the investigation into Oppenheimer.

Daylight so often lacks in police encounters with suspects. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know the power of simply shining the light of day on an opposing witness and on the prosecutor's words. any years ago, I was driving home, alone, down a dark, nearly empty road. All of a sudden, I saw a car was tailgating me, hours before daylight. By then, I knew the futility and wrongheadedness of showing anger to anyone who does that,. Instead, I opened my window and gently motioned the tailgater to create some distance. The tailgater responded by turning on his emergency lights; it was a police car.

Demonstrators nationwide are hitting the streets demanding real policing reform, ending racism, and justice reform after George Floyd died while a Minneapolis police officer pinned him down for many minutes with the cop's knee. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I have been unable to keep up with the multiple news stories and discussion by people I know on the one hand of peaceful protesters, suppression of them (and of some journalists as well) starting with curfews, some police even joining the demonstrators or taking a knee in support of Mr. Floyd, and peaceful protesters responding to those nearby them who are committing crimes; on another hand people assaulting police, rioting, looting, vandalism and arson; and on another hand a wide range of government and police action and response that includes excessive action to say the least, and use of the National Guard in some places, and Donald Trump's threats of calling in the military. Not having been able to keep up with all this news, I limit this article some specific circumstances happening in Northern Virginia and the nation's capital, and to the need for the police and government reaction to demonstrations not to turn into instances of more police abuse.

My dad Joseph Jacob Katz passed away May 18, 2020. I could say he had a long illness, and that I am happy I got a chance to visit with him for many nice  hours at my parents' home in New York City this past weekend, all of which is true. Here, I talk, briefly, about how my father lived. My father grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, up the road a few dozen miles from where I grew up, and where plenty of people speak with non-rhotic accents, but not my dad. Senator Tom Dodd recommended him for West Point, where he graduated in 1958, and where he loved taking my brothers, mom and me for numerous football games and reunions. He saw the military as needed but of course as needing to be deployed only at the right times and for the right reasons. He loved Patton, took me to see it soon after it came out, and got a chance to bump into George C. Scott at a Broadway theater and tell him how much his Patton character meant to him.