The Kaplan Law Firm
Due Process
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Virginia Court of Appeals Agrees to Review Important Decision on Constitutional Rights
10/23/2012 4:10:56 PM

The Virginia Court of Appeals today granted a petition that I filed on behalf of my client, Felecia Amos, asking for a rehearing en banc of the Court’s decision in the Amos v. Commonwealth case.  The Court of Appeals’ initial ruling in the case, which was issued in August by a three judge panel of the Court before Ms. Amos hired me to represent her, upheld an Arlington County Circuit Court judge’s order sentencing Ms. Amos to ten days in jail for supposedly lying about her husband’s violations of a protective order.  The Circuit Court judge convicted and sentenced Ms. Amos for criminal contempt of court, but he denied her the most basic due process—Ms. Amos was not charged with a crime before she was convicted, she was not allowed to have an attorney and she was given no opportunity to present any evidence or even to saying anything in her defense.  In the petition that I filed I argued that this denial of Ms. Amos’ due process rights was a clear violation of the United States Constitution. 
Due Process in Virginia: Amos v. Commonwealth
8/22/2012 12:02:25 AM
Think you have the right to basic due process—such as the right to have an attorney, the right to have notice of the charges against you, the right to gather evidence in your favor and to speak in your defense—before you can be convicted of a crime?  Not in Virginia, at least according to Amos v. Commonwealth, issued earlier this month by the Virginia Court of Appeals. 
Do not ignore a lawsuit!!
6/24/2012 2:48:11 PM

Many issues surrounding litigation are complicated.  But there is one straightforward, uncomplicated rule that applies to all lawsuits anywhere—if you are sued do not ignore the lawsuit!!  No matter how ridiculous the lawsuit seems or how much you do not want to pay for an attorney, you must respond to avoid a default judgment.  This rule may be obvious to many, but, it is ignored by untold numbers of individuals and small businesses every year.  Following this rule is especially important in Virginia, where it is easy to get a default judgment and especially difficult to have such a judgment set aside.
Real Estate Closings in New York
4/29/2012 7:34:58 PM

This weekend’s New York Times has an interesting article on residential real estate closings in New York City. 
Virginia Supreme Court Says Default Judgment Can be Entered Against Defendant Who Knows Nothing Of Lawsuit
4/17/2012 2:09:04 PM
The message of a somewhat surprising recent Virginia Supreme Court decision, Specialty Hospitals Of Washington v. Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Inc., is clear:  anyone sued in a Virginia court had better file a timely response to the lawsuit—whether or not they actually know that they have been sued. 
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