By Sara Kropf
We had a big year at Law Office of Sara Kropf. The biggest news is that we don’t exist anymore.
Not to worry, though. Andrea Moseley joined the firm, and we are now Kropf Moseley PLLC. With three lawyers, we are practically a legal empire.
We’re still trying to convince Andrea to write for the blog, and hopefully she’ll do a post or two this year. Andrea handles white-collar criminal matters, as well as lawyer disciplinary work and civil litigation. She knows the Virginia courts backwards and forwards, including the always-intimidating EDVA.
Onwards! Let’s look back at which posts were the most read this year and the ones that we had the most fun writing.
Your Favorite Posts
Here are the top 5 posts this year in terms of number of views:
FIVE: OIG Investigations – Why Lawyers and Clients Should Both Worry. We have an e-book coming out in January all about OIG investigations. There is very little writing from the defense side about these investigations, even though we’ve seen a huge uptick in media coverage of them, thanks to the current White House occupant. An OIG investigation is one of the primary ways that DOJ learns about possible criminal conduct, lawyers and government employees/contractors need to be aware of the risks of cooperating in these investigations without understanding the consequences.
FOUR: White Collar Crime Resource Guide: Statute of Limitations. This is a perennial favorite, no doubt so popular because people google “what is the statute of limitations for [conspiracy, fraud, etc.].” TL;DR: The SOL is usually 5 years.
THREE: What is a Reverse Proffer? This post describes a funny (but critically helpful) process in which a prosecutor describes her case to the defense lawyer, usually in an effort to encourage a guilty plea by the target of the investigation.
TWO: What is Grand Jury Secrecy? This post describes the basics of what must be kept secret during a grand jury investigation and, more important, who must keep it secret. Part of the purpose of the post is to remind witnesses that they are free to talk about what happened during the grand jury, including what questions were asked during the session.
ONE: What is an FBI 302? This one is far and away the winner. It’s a fairly basic post about the interview memos that FBI agents write. I plan to write more this year about the critical role these memos play in criminal investigations.
Our Favorite Posts
FIVE: SEC Investigations 101 (also here and here). This is the continuation of a very helpful set of posts by Dan describing the basics of SEC investigations. He used to work at the SEC, so he knows what he’s talking about. These are useful both for non-lawyers who are facing an SEC investigation and for criminal defense lawyers who are wading into a parallel investigation.
FOUR: In Your Client’s Words – Speaking at Sentencing. Since so many white collar cases end in guilty pleas or verdicts, it’s critical for defense lawyers to understand how to present the best case at sentencing. One key part of sentencing is your client’s allocution, and this post describes some tips (and traps) on that front.
THREE: Why Judges Should Stop Asking Jurors about Police Officer Witnesses During Voir Dire. This post addresses a problem that’s likely only apparent to criminal defense lawyers—judges excusing jurors (often jurors of color) for cause based on answers to a question about the trustworthiness of a police officer witness. We’ve all seen it happen and there’s an easy solution: stop asking the question.
TWO: OIG Investigations (also here). Dan has written several posts about stages of an OIG investigation. They are a critical contribution to a little-covered area of criminal defense work, particularly for lawyers working in the District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions.
ONE: Rule 17(c) Subpoenas (also here). These posts cover a very troubling quirk of federal criminal practice, which allows the government nearly unlimited power to investigate crimes and allows defense lawyers extremely limited power to investigate defenses.
I hope you all enjoyed reading Grand Jury Target this year. We wish you a peaceful and joyous new year!
Sara and Dan