Robertson v. United States ex rel. Watson

NACDL amicus curiae brief in support of petitioner.

Brief filed: 02/04/2010


Robertson v. United States ex rel. Watson

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 08-6261

Prior Decision

Decision below 940 A.2d 1050 (D.C. 2008).


Defendant entered a global plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in District of Columbia Superior Court Criminal Division to assaulting his former girlfriend. Subsequently, his former girlfriend, acting as a private prosecutrix, asked the D.C. Superior Court Family Division to hold him in criminal contempt for the same incident. After a bench trial, the defendant was also convicted of criminal contempt of the Family Division protection order. The U.S. Attorney’s Office argued that its plea agreement with the defendant could not bind the private prosecutrix. The brief argues that domestic violence is a crime against the state and that criminal contempt prosecutions are offenses against the sovereign, properly brought by the government, not private prosecutors.

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Blair G. Brown, Cory T. Way and Benjamin L. Krein, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, Washington, D.C.