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Protect yourself through silence with VA cops, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Protect yourself by declining answering police questions as a suspect, says Fairfax criminal lawyer Protect yourself when police ask you questions when a criminal suspect or potential suspect. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know you help yourself by asserting your Fifth Amendment right to...

Virginia murder convictions to no longer get death row

Virginia murder convictions now will face life without sunlight at worst Virginia murder prosecutions had a high rate of prosecutors seeking the death penalty when I started law school in 1986, making Virginia and three other states leaders in pursuing capital punishment. Those efforts included...

Jury instructions must be correct says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Jury instructions need to be correct. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that might sound obvious at first blush, but the appropriate instructions are not always given to jurors, and can result in serious harm to criminal defendants. Praised be the Virginia Court of...

Killing conviction upheld despite delay- Fairfax criminal lawyer weighs in

Killing convictions can be an extra challenge to obtain for prosecutors, because the victim is never available to testify in court. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I find this week's Warnick v. Virginia appellate opinion affirming a Northern Virginia murder conviction to be instructive for criminal defense...

Mistrial can trigger double jeopardy says Fairfax criminal lawyer

A mistrial can happen for a number of reasons in Virginia, including a hung jury and evidence of misconduct in the jury room. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that a criminal defendants' Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy rights bar a retrial after a mistrial...

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer on need to attack chain of custody

Chain of custody involves the chronological movement, treatment, and physical changes of criminal case evidence from the time it comes into existence, and then is collected, packaged, transported, opened and repackaged. The importance of reliable chain of custody includes such factors as assuring the correct...

A self defense claim requires being in imminent danger of harm

When a homicide defendant knows s/he will be found to have caused the decedent's death, the defendant often finds himself or herself pursuing a self defense claim, or else a claim of a lesser level of culpability than first degree murder (for instance manslaughter or...