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
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: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/supct/crimlaw.htm and those who practice in Pierce County must become familiar with the changes.
By Brett Purtzer, June 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
In federal court, in many cases, judges have little flexibility in the sentences that they hand out. Here’s what you can 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...
Our Supreme Court has recently handed down several opinions reversing serious cases because the prosecutor in the case committed misconduct. In several of the cases, the facts weighed heavily in favor of conviction, but the Court still found the conduct of the prosecutor to be so flagrant and ill-intentioned that reversal was required.
By Casey Arbenz, July 2015