Year: 2007

The Wire



Last week I got to play the part of courtroom sketch artist for HBO’s The Wire.
That in itself was a gas, but what made it even better is that the scene featured Baltimore’s own Billy Murphy playing himself.

My first assignment as a sketch artist for WJZ-TV was the trial of Charles A. Hopkins who had gone on a rampage at City Hall shooting and killing Councilman Dominic M. Leone. The jury found Hopkins not guilty by reason of insanity. His attorney? Billy Murphy.


Posted in Courtroom Tagged with:

Supreme Court completes term


The U. S. Supreme Court today delivered the last of its opinions for the October 2006 term. The sketch shows Justice Breyer reading his dissent in the school desegregation cases.

WaPo has the story here.

Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court Tagged with:

Another prison sentence in Abramoff scandal


The former Deputy Secretary of the Interior was sentenced today to ten months in prison as well as a $30,000 fine and community service for lying to a Senate committee about his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

I posted earlier, when he entered his guilty plea in March, about how  J. Steven Griles met Abramoff through his girlfriend Italia Federici, who has entered into a plea agreement of her own and is due to be sentenced in September. Today we heard of one kind of benefit Abramoff received from the relationship.

During the filming of the motion picture “National Treasure” film crews, with their trailers and equipment, had set up on the grounds of the United States Navy Memorial next to Abramoff’s restaurant “Signatures” and were blocking the valet parking area abutting the restaurant. An angry Jack Abramoff called Griles, who contacted the Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service who had the Park Service direct the film crew to move. Abramoff boasted in an e-mail to a colleague, “I  . . . am all over their asses”.


A tearful Griles addressed the judge before imposition of sentence saying “This has been the most difficult time in my life. My guilty plea here has brought me great shame and
embarrassment. I have lost my business, my income and, most
importantly, my reputation.”

WaPo story here.

Dana Milbank’s “Washington Sketch” is a good read.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with:

Go Directly to Jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200


Judge Reggie Jackson was not swayed by arguments made by Lawrence S. Robbins, a member of his newly formed appellate team of attorneys, seeking to allow Scooter Libby to defer serving his thirty month sentence until his appeals are exhausted.

Washington Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with:

Libby sentenced


This sketch shows I.Lewis “Scooter” Libby standing, flanked by his attorneys, before Judge Reggie Walton as he receives his sentence: 30 months and $250,000.

Whether he starts serving his sentence in the near future or gets to remain free on bail until his appeals are exhausted will be decided by the judge next Thursday at another hearing.

Washington Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with:

Paranoid Homeland Security official?


The deputy Homeland Security director for Prince George’s County, Maryland was in court Friday for a preliminary hearing on assault charges stemming from an April 5 incident when a real estate agent mistakenly knocked on the door to the official’s home.  The agent was greeted by a belligerent Keith Washington who stuck a gun in his face and, according to the victim, yelled “I know  what the [expletive] you’re here for. You’re not here to do an appraisal”.

The official, Keith Washington, is already under investigation for shooting two Marlo Furniture movers who were making a delivery to his home in January. One of the men died from the the shooting, the other was wounded. Washington says he shot the men in self-defense.

In the sketch a police investigator, Sgt. Aaron Ajani is answering a questioned from the prosecutor on the far left. Washington is sitting in the background behind his attorney, Michael Worthy. Judge Hassan A El-Amin ruled that there is sufficient evidence to send the case to the grand jury, but also noted “numerous weaknesses” in the case.

Washington Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with:

Libby II, the civil suit


Lawyers for “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove and Richard Armitage today asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit by former covert CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV for harm caused by the outing of Ms Plame in retaliation for Ambassador Wilson’s criticism of the White House case for invading Iraq. In the sketch above Valerie Plame is seated in the left foreground while Rove’s attorney, Bob Luskin makes his argument.

It’s hard to do justice, with pencil and paint,  to Valerie Plame; she’s quite striking.Plame070517_Chemerinsky

Here she is with her attorney, Duke law professor Erwin Chemerinsky (who is not quite so).

Washington Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

Congressman challenges FBI raid


A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments today in a separation of powers case stemming from the bribery investigation of congressman William Jefferson.

MSNBC’s  Joel Seidman has the story here.

Posted in Appellate Courts, Congress Tagged with: ,

Padilla trial begins


The trial of Jose Padilla, previously known as the “dirty bomber” and held in a Charleston, SC navy brig for three and a half years as an “enemy combatant”, began in U.S. District Court in Miami yesterday.  Padilla and two co-defendants, Adham Hassoun and Kifah Jayyousi, face charges of participating in a “conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim”.

The sketch shows Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Frazier making his opening arguments to the jury. Padilla is the forth figure from the right. Hassoun is to the left of Padilla, and Jayyousi -with mustache and goatee- is on the right.

Washington Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with:

DC Madam draws a crowd


The courtroom was packed yesterday for a routine status hearing in the prostitution case against Deborah Jeane Palfrey, AKA the DC Madam, after the resignation Friday of a former client who happened to be the State Department’s director of foreign assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Ms Palfrey was there to fire her highly regarded public defender, and ask the judge for $150,000 to hire a new lawyer. Judge Gladys Kessler agreed to appoint a new lawyer, but not of Palfrey’s choosing. “You are operating under the Criminal Justice Act because of indigent
issues,” the judge explained. “It does not give you the right to select


At the conclusion of the hearing the defendant had one more request. She told the judge that she holds 5000 shares of Dolby Laboratories. “The stock has increased in value approximately $13 a share” — to $37 — “since this particular asset was seized, “I really do believe it’s at its peak. I’d like the court to order this stock be sold as soon as possible.” The judge said she could not do that.

Washingto Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: