Yearly Archives: 2015

Bad Acts May not Come Back to Haunt After All

Can someone’s prior abusive history be used against him in a domestic violence related trial? Well, the Washington Court of Appeals recently considered that very issue, and found that the trial court erred by admitting evidence of a defendant’s acts of domestic violence and permitting a jury to consider that evidence. See State v. Moreno-Valentin… Continue Reading »

Neglecting Jury Duty may have a Price

Beware of whimsically and innocently shirking your civic jury duty obligation. It may seem reasonable to think that nothing will happen for such an indiscretion (and often it doesn’t), but piss off the wrong judge and things can get ugly real quick. Just take for example a judge’s ire when 55 folks neglected to respond… Continue Reading »

The Criminal Justice Theories

Many have heard about the “three strikes” law which has been implemented in many States, where in which a defendant with three violent felony convictions may be sentenced to life in imprisonment. In addition to “three strikes” laws, other state and all federal criminal statutes include mandatory sentences that require judges to impose identical sentences… Continue Reading »

The Conundrum Solved – at least for Seattle

The great metropolis of the City of Seattle is now at a size that if all potential crimes were reported via 911, the call center would probably be overloaded and summarily shutdown. Or at least that is what one is lead to believe vis a vis the Seattle Police Department (the “SPD”). Why else would… Continue Reading »

M’Naghten Rule for Insanity Defenses

The American justice system protects those are found to be mentally incompetent, and seeks help for such defendants. Criminal defendants who are found to be legally insane cannot be convicted of charges arising from a particular mental disability. Depending on the jurisdiction, Courts use one of several legal tests to determine whether a defendant actually… Continue Reading »

Lipstick on a Pig?

The Washington State Patrol’s (the “WSP”) stated mission is to ‘make a difference every day, enhancing the safety and security of our state by providing the best in public safety services.’ Its vision is ‘to be the best public safety agency in the United States. And its motto is, ‘Service With Humility’. So it should… Continue Reading »

How Do I Select a Jury in My Trial?

One of the most important constitutional right a person facing a criminal charge is their right to a jury trial. The Constitution guarantees a right to a trial by a jury of our peers in all criminal prosecutions from minor offenses to the most serious. The jury is charged with finding the facts of a… Continue Reading »

What's the Deal with DV Sentencings

Criminal cases in Washington State are serious matters that can impact both a person’s personal as well as their professional life; people face the prospect of jail, fines and conditioned probation. In particular, a domestic violence related criminal case can be particularly impactful on a person’s life, and the stigma alone can be somewhat overwhelming.… Continue Reading »

The Death Penalty

In June 2003 Governor George Ryan of Illinois stirred controversy when he commuted the death sentences of 167 inmates to life imprisonment. Ryan said he had concluded the state’s capital punishment system was “haunted by the demon of error.” His action came three years after he ordered a moratorium on executions after evidence proved that… Continue Reading »

Another Emphasis Crackdown on Our Roadways

Over this past week – and undoubtedly beyond – the Washington State Patrol has been working to ensure motorists know they need to ‘move over’ when they see emergency vehicles on the side of the road. By ‘working to ensure’ we mean that emphasis patrols are in full force and effect across the state. The… Continue Reading »