Felony Murder Update

When is a felony murder conviction not a felony murder conviction? When the Wash- ington State Supreme Court says it is not by prospectively applying a two-year-old decision. (In re Personal Restraint of Andress, 147 Wn.2d 602, 56 P.3d 981 (2002)).

By Brett Purtzer, July 2004

Five Things to Know If You Have Been Charged with Domestic Violence

If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important that you take these charges seriously. If convicted, you could be facing jail time, fines and costs, probation, participation in a state-approved program and much more. Here are a few important things to...

January 2019

Fourth Amendment Applies to Individuals Facing Trial

Recently, the Ninth Circuit decided the case of U.S. vs. Scott, 04-10090, (September 9, 2005), holding that police must have probable cause to search an individual released pending trial pursuant to conditions of release.

By Wayne Fricke, October 2005

Freedom of Choice

Recently, Division III of the Court of Appeals decided a case confirming that the dou- ble jeopardy clause is alive and well in the State of Washington.

By Wayne Fricke, March 2004

He said he did it. Did he?

Champion, a magazine published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Law- yers, in its December, 2007 issue, contains an article regarding false confessions. A review of this article is must for criminal defense lawyers.

By Monte Hester, February 2008

Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow

The Ninth Circuit in USA v. Danielson, 325 F3rd 1054, filed March 24, 2003, decided that the government cannot use information from a defendant concerning trial strategy.

By Monte Hester, July 2003

How much do you know about DUI’s in Washington State?

  DUIs are a relatively common charge in Washington State. And unfortunately, we’ve learned that the general public does not have all of the knowledge when it comes to DUI laws. It can be much more complex than simply driving while intoxicated. The good news?...

May 2018

Hurry Up and Wait

Recently, we filed a federal habeas petition on behalf of a client who was sentenced for money laundering to 57 months based on an offender score of 25. The base offender score was determined by cross-referencing §2D1.1 (offenses involving drugs) of the Sentencing Guidelines from §2S1.1 (money laundering provision).

By Lance M. Hester, November 2004

Judge, You Can’t Do That!

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  In State v. Button (11/25/14 Div. II), a routine embezzlement case, ends with a unique sentence condition.  Button entered a guilty plea to first degree theft for embezzling funds from a high school booster club.  The court sentenced her to...

By Monte E. Hester, July 2015

Judging Judge Threats

Division II of the Court of Appeals demonstrates its objectivity in State v. Brown, Docket No. 33633-2 filed on March 20, 2007. Brown was convicted by a jury of “intimidating a judge.” RCW 9A.72.160.

By Lance M. Hester, May 2007

Mail and Wire Fraud: The Basics

Wire and mail fraud is more common than you may think and can take many different forms. Wire fraud includes telemarketing fraud, phishing and spam related schemes. Wire fraud, as you may expect, is a type of fraud that involves the use of electronic...

June 2018

Manifestly Unreasonable

“Show Me The Money!” After judgment go straight to CR 62 and RAP 8.1 to determine when you can start executing. In the world of civil litigation it is rarely enough to simply win a lawsuit. Once judgment is entered it’s time for the attorneys to roll up their sleeves and be- gin the real work of getting everybody their compensation.

By Lance M. Hester, November 2004

Mental Defense Primer

A mental health defense is often the only way to explain an otherwise appearing senseless act of violence. Most criminal defense attorneys agree that absent an affirmative defense some abnormal behavior is often the cause of a violent offense. Presenting such defense to a jury, however, is always challenging because jurors expect an individual to be accountable for his or her acts.

By Brett Purtzer, January 2006

Miranda Lives

At the state trial court level in Arizona, the defendant, who was charged with the murder of several monks in a mosque via execution style killing, asked the court to de- termine that his confession should be suppressed because of Miranda violations. He claimed that the Miranda warnings given were inadequate and that his confession was involuntary. The Ninth Circuit agreed with those claims.

By Monte Hester, May 2011

Missing Witness Abuse

Our Supreme Court, in an opinion filed May 15, 2008 and authored by Justice Chambers, State v. Montgomery, Docket #79564-9, found that the trial court’s giving of a missing witness instruction, followed by the State’s argument regarding the missing witnesses, was an abuse of discretion which was not harmless.

By Monte Hester, June 2008

Non-Custodial Arrest Suppress-ed!

At a suppression hearing, the arresting officer, “admitted that he had intended to release Mr. Radka with a citation until he found the drug paraphernalia.” This resulted in the trial court suppressing the evidence and dismissing the case. And Division III held that a reasonable per- son would not consider the arrest “custodial” and thus affirmed the trial court.

By Lance M. Hester, March 2004

Not One in the Same

On June 5, 2003, the Supreme Court clarified just what is subject to a speedy trial vio- lation when two charges that could have been charged together are not. See State v. Kindsvo- gel, #72541-1 (June 5, 2003).

By Wayne Fricke, July 2003

One Too Many

Recently, I was confronted with a situation wherein a Pierce County prosecutor in- sisted upon witnesses being interviewed jointly. The witnesses happened to be two wildlife agents who headed the investigation against my client. I was forced to file a motion before the prosecutor agreed to change his position.

By Wayne Fricke, March 2004

Pierce County Criminal Protocols

On March 31, 2008, the Pierce County Superior Court criminal practice underwent an overhaul from a case management standpoint. Because of a backlog of criminal cases, judges and attorneys developed protocols to attempt to reduce this backlog. The protocols are avail- able online at: and those who practice in Pierce County must become familiar with the changes.

By Brett Purtzer, June 2008

Piercing Qualified Immunity

Part of our practice includes representing individuals who have had their civil rights violated by law enforcement. These cases are very difficult because of the positive image most jurors have of law enforcement and the usual lack of independent witnesses to verify a civil rights violation.

By Brett Purtzer, April 2014

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