PRC Update

Effective September 1, 2006, the Rules for Professional Conduct (RPC) were substantially revised. Additionally, ongoing discussions continue surrounding RPC 1.5 relating to earned and flat fees.

By Brett Purtzer, December 2006

Predicting One's Own Death

I just returned from a murder case in Alaska and faced a relatively novel issue in defending the case. Specifically, a letter written by a future victim set forth his suspicions that a defen- dant (my client) and her alleged paramours might kill him.

By Wayne Fricke, December 2007

Prior Testimony Admitted in Retrial

Recently, in Pierce County Superior Court, I was involved in a retrial of an attempted first- degree murder wherein the victim was rendered a quadriplegic from an assault with the issue revolving on the identity of the attacker.

By Wayne Fricke, January 2006

Publicans Prevail

Our State Supreme Court in Personal Restraint Petition of Christopher A. Orange, Docket No. 72485-7 filed 11/10/2004, has courageously evidenced its commitment to “stare decisis.” The court reversed and remanded for a new trial convictions of eight felonies (first degree murder, first degree attempted murder, two counts of first degree assault and four counts of reckless endangerment).

By Monte Hester, January 2005

Pursed Purse

Our Supreme Court, in State v. Kurt L. Jones, Docket No. 70869-0, unanimously held that the search of a passenger’s purse is not justified incident to a driver’s arrest absent evi- dence that the passenger’s purse was in the immediate control of the driver.

By Monte Hester, June 2002

Put This in Your Pipe

In State v. Heritage, 20617-3-III (2002), a juvenile was convicted on stipulated facts of possession of drug paraphernalia after her motion to suppress seized evidence (a pipe) and her incriminating statement was denied.

By Monte Hester, January 2003

Reality of Police Power

Justice Souter, in Bruce Edward Brendlin, Petitioner, v. California, 551 U.S. ____ 2007, No. 06-8120, delivered an opinion that when an officer makes a traffic stop and a passenger is seized as well the driver, the passenger may challenge the constitutionality of the stop under the Fourth Amendment.

By Lance M. Hester, August 2007

Recent Cases of Interest

Two recent decisions, one civil and one criminal, may significantly impact practitioners in the way they handle certain cases. Because of their significance, we all need to be aware of their impact so we can properly advise our clients when the following issues arise.

By Brett Purtzer, October 2003

Remand of Recuenco; Firearm vs. Deadly Weapon

The U.S. Supreme Court, in reviewing Washington Supreme Court’s decision in the Wash- ington v. Recuenco case, 154 Wash.2d, 156 110 P.3d 188, has remanded the case for further consideration in accordance with its decision. See, 548 U.S. ___, 126 S.Ct. 2546 (2006).

By Brett Purtzer, July 2006

Representing the Absent Client

Occasionally, we must appear in court when our clients unexpectedly don’t. Under such circumstances, we must be careful as to what information we relay to the court regarding our clients’ non-appearance so we don’t violate RPC 1.6. RPC 1.6 prohibits lawyers from re- vealing client confidences or secrets, without the client’s consultation and consent.

By Brett Purtzer, April 2003

Right to a Speedy Trial

The Supreme Court’s revision of CrR 3.3 basically gutted the concept of a speedy trial with the myriad exceptions and cure provisions. But Division I recently held that a frequent reason for a continuance, prosecutor unavailability, did not warrant a continuance and dis- missed a DUI prosecution.

By Brett Purtzer, February 2008

Rule of Completness

Oftentimes, the state or defense will seek to introduce favorable testimony through a witness by asking limited questions to evoke a limited response. Evidence Rule 106, however, allows the adverse party to require the party at that time, to introduce any other part, or any other writing or recorded statement, that ought, in fairness, be considered contemporaneously with it.

By Brett Purtzer, May 2006

Say No to Poly

Evidence of a plea agreement between the state and a snitch, which includes a provi- sion that the snitch be required to submit to a polygraph to verify his truthfulness, is not ad- missible in court.

By Monte Hester, April 2003

Search Warrant Requirements in the Era of Social Media

Two recent and encouraging decisions, one from the United States Supreme Court and one from the Court of Appeals, Division III, illustrate that all is not lost in the fight against warrantless searches. The facts in both cases are routine, and both Courts’ decisions warrant review.

By Brett A. Purtzer, July 2015

Sentencing in Federal Court - Know What to Expect

In federal court, in many cases, judges have little flexibility in the sentences that they hand out. Here’s what you can expect.

May 2018

Sentencing in Federal Court – Know What to Expect

When facing a federal criminal charge the best outcome is to have the case dismissed. The second best outcome is to be found not guilty by a jury. However, if someone is convicted of a federal charge, they will then be sentenced by the...

July 2018

Seven Things to Know if You Get Stopped by a Police Officer

Getting stopped by the police can be scary, even if you are doing nothing wrong. And even if you are doing nothing wrong, you could incriminate yourself without intending to do so. Remember, anything you say to the police can and will be used...

April 2018

Sex Offender Registry FAQs

  There are certain crimes for which, if you’ve been convicted, you are required to register as a sex offender. This, undoubtedly, can be an intimidating and unpleasant process. We know that and we also know that one way to decrease that is to know...

November 2018

Smell Test Stinks

Justice Charles Johnson was the majority author in State v. Grande, Docket Number 81068-1, published on July 17, 2008.

By Monte Hester, July 2008

Spin on Apprendi and Blakely!

The defendant in State v. Recuenco was found guilty by a jury of second degree assault followed by a special verdict that he was armed with a deadly weapon. The assault involved the defendant assaulting his wife with a gun. The trial court imposed a sentence enhance- ment based on the defendant being armed with a firearm. The enhancement for a firearm is significantly greatly than that for a deadly weapon.

By Monte Hester, July 2005

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