District of Columbia Landmark Legal Rulings

Ramirez v. U.S.

(2012):  D.C. Court of Appeal constructive possession requires more than mere presence of the accused on the premises, or simply his proximity to the drugs; there must be something more in the totality of the circumstances that establishes that the accused meant to exercise dominion or control over the narcotics.

Washington v. U.S.

(2015):  D.C. Court of Appeal ruled that under general savings statutes, Marijuana Decriminalization Amendment, which amended statute criminalizing possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less to make such act a civil violation subject only to fine, and decriminalized possession of paraphernalia associated with such possession, did not apply retroactively to defendant who committed and was sentenced for such offenses after effective date of amendment; language of amendment did not expressly provide for retroactive application, legislative history did not explicitly mention pending prosecutions, and judiciary committee considered previously convictions for possession of marijuana when discussing sealing of criminal records, deciding to deal with issue in separate bill, supporting inference that it did not intend for act to apply retroactively.