Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

Ph# (206) 459-1310

Posts made in November, 2011

By on Nov 27, 2011 in Communication, Court, Criminal, Funny, Misconduct, Negotiation, Noah Weil, Procedure | 1 comment

Perhaps I’m a big nerd, but even though I practice law during the day, I still enjoy watching the occasional legal fiction. A Law and Order episode is always a guilty pleasure, and I’ve seen Legally Blonde more than once. But while this stuff is fun, these shows often portray common misconceptions about what is actually permissible in legal settings. Below are six common scenes that should never happen in real life. 1. The “walking ruling” Scene: Critical evidence was collected inappropriately. One of the attorneys wants the evidence out, the other wants it in. The judge is dramatically walking down the halls of the courthouse while the two attorneys argue about the evidence. Just as the judge puts on their robes to start court, the judge make their ruling. An attorney is devastated. Reality: There are these things called “appeals” that permit a losing a party to petition a higher court to review the record for errors. “Record” is the key word in “appeal;” appellate courts can’t review anything without looking over a record of what transpired. Evidentiary rulings are immensely important in trial settings, and evidence-based issues are the most likely reason to get a case reversed. As such, anything involving the admission or production or exclusion of evidence will happen in the courtroom with the tape recorder or stenographer at the ready. Anything that happens in a hallway or judge’s chambers is off the record, which means it’s unreviewable. That’s a bad thing. Attorneys can certainly talk to each other in hallways or wherever they want. But when judges and rulings are involved, every word needs to be preserved. 2. The “key case” moment Scene: Most legal dramas don’t show the research and writing of practicing law, because it’s boring. But if they show the scene at all, it’s a lawyer hunched over a book until they find a key page. They slam the book closed, wipe the sweat off their brow, reveal the case law the next day in court, win their case, and get elected president. Reality: Where to begin? Depending on the stakes, you can multiply any research/writing scene shown on TV by 25 hours to get a sense of what actually occurs....

Read More

By on Nov 2, 2011 in Civil, Communication, Court, Criminal, Noah Weil, Procedure, Sentencing/Penalties | 74 comments

Author’s note: I’m very happy you’ve enjoyed this overview of the no-contact order but remember if you have a specific legal issue you need to contact a lawyer and make an appointment in your state! I am licensed to practice in Washington State only and can only offer legal advice to 1) clients, 2) in the State of Washington *** The no-contact order is one of more damaging orders a court can put on a person. While nominally it protects the safety of what is known as the protected person, they can also wreak havoc on a living situation. Further, they can create new criminal charges for a restrained person, even felonies. This week’s topic goes into how these orders come about, and the best practices for both the restrained and protected parties. How is a no-contact order created?   A no-contact order is an order signed by a judge. As I explain below, it can be requested by anyone, but only a judge can order one. Civilly Requested   The first method is the requested order. A person goes to a court and fills out a form requesting the judge issue a 14-day protection order. The form of course lists the reasons why someone should be restrained. Importantly though, that person is not required to be present at the petitioner-requesting stage. This is a rare exception to the rule requiring all parties be present before a judge will take action on a matter. In other words, a person can request a temporary restraining order ex parte. If the request is in anyway rational (e.g. does not involve aliens) the judge will probably issue the restraining order. But the court requires the order be served, or delivered, to the restrained person. And there’s a couple reasons for that: 1) the order is ineffective if the restrained person doesn’t know about it, and 2) at the end of the 14 days the petitioner can request the temporary restraining order be converted into a permanent one. This process involves a hearing, and cannot be done ex parte. The actual hearing to convert a temporary restraining order into a permanent one is complex and beyond the scope of this post, but in essence the judge...

Read More
The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters in which results and testimonials have been provided. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.