Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

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Civil Rights

By on Oct 2, 2017 in Civil Rights, Communication, Court, Criminal, Domestic Violence, Sex Offense | 1 comment

Most of my clients have either never been charged with an offense in their life, or have been involved in the system for years and years. Both types of clients feel stress about their situation when I get involved, but for different reasons. For the first-time client the stress is obvious: The fear of jail time, the fear of having a criminal record, and the general unease of being in such a foreign environment. I try to put my clients at ease during this stressful process. I explain each step of what is going on in their case and also what I am doing for them to help matters along. I hope it helps, but I know for many of these folks the stress never completely goes away. On the other hand, “repeat customers” have their own stresses. Many of these clients have had unpleasant experiences with law enforcement or government agencies in their lives, and they may be worried the latest charge will be one more time that they don’t get a fair shake. They may be afraid a judge will see their past history and assume the newest charge is “business as usual,” no matter if the defendant is actually innocent of this charge. But my clients aren’t the only ones with invested feelings. You see, no one escapes being affected by this work. Lives are in the balance, sometimes literally. Being the victim of a crime can affect aspect of a person’s life for years, and being wrongfully convicted of a crime can be equally devastating. The lawyers have a lot on their shoulders as they try to balance respect for the criminal justice process, and the people involved. I was reminded of this when two articles from The Marshall Project landed on my desk (Side note: If you care about criminal justice issues, The Marshall Project is a fantastic site and worthy of your support). The first article was about a prosecutor who had to tell a victim of sexual abuse that her assailant obtained a new trial. Which meant the victim had to testify once again about her painful experience. The prosecutor featured in the article had the unenviable job of telling her this. A short, powerful read about the pressures a prosecutor...

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By on Aug 22, 2017 in Administration, Background checks, Civil Rights, Criminal, Public Records | 0 comments

Criminal histories are the gift that keep on giving. From embarrassment to loss of job to losing the ability to travel internationally, even simple misdemeanors can cause havoc years and years after the case is over. It’s why I get called a lot about vacating misdemeanors and felonies. Seattle, recognizing this issue and its intersection with their homeless crisis, unanimously passed a new ordinance forbidding the use of criminal histories in rental applications. For Seattle residents that are scared of living next to ne’er-do-well’s, the article points out there is no relationship between criminal history and tenant violations (and if someone committed a serious violent felony, they are probably still in prison).  I applaud this ordinance as a common-sense response to the criminal history problem. Even people who have made a mistake deserve a place to live. If you or someone you know is being charged with a crime or needs to clear up some records, feel free to give me a...

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By on May 23, 2017 in Civil Rights, Communication, Court, Criminal, Family, Sex Offense | 1 comment

I was talking to a lawyer friend a while ago and he mentioned his girlfriend at the time (now wife) was supportive of his legal career, but (friend) was not allowed to defend child- sex offenders. Not “those people.” And I get it. Those guys are the lowest of the low, right? If any crime deserves someone be swiftly and surely strung up in the town square, it’s these guys. Right? It’s a popular opinion, but not one I subscribe to. When the accusation is heinous and awful, that’s when our due process is most needed. That’s when competent lawyers and neutral judges are most required, because it’s too easy for emotions to send an innocent person to prison. And in the article here, that’s what happened. An innocent person lost 20 years of his life. His kids grew up without him. He missed graduations, weddings, the birth of his grandchildren. Because in the zeal to convict, his guilty was presupposed. And despite a lawsuit to hold those accountable, which he won, he will never get that time back. I defend “those people” because if I don’t, who will? They deserve competent and effective representation. They deserve their day in court. And if they’re innocent they deserve, like we all do, to not spend decades in prison for a crime they did not commit. There is a chasm between an accusation and proof and as the article shows, all of society suffers when an accusation is treated as truth. If you or someone you know is accused of doing something bad, feel free to give me a...

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By on Jan 27, 2017 in Civil Rights, Communication, Constitution, Court, Criminal, Judges, Jury, Negotiation, Police, Sentencing/Penalties, Trial | 0 comments

Innocence is the worst. Now don’t get me wrong, innocent people are great. Unlike some people in the criminal justice system, they committed no crime. We can’t say that about everyone involved in the system. But for me and my work as a criminal defense attorney, I have a real problem with when I work with innocent people, because that means an innocent person was charged with a crime. When an innocent person is charged with a crime, it means something has gone wrong. The dirty secret of the criminal justice system? Innocent people are charged with crimes all the time! And then it falls on my shoulders to take a bad situation (innocent person charged with a crime) and try to stop it from turning into a tragedy (innocent person convicted of a crime). That’s a lot of pressure! Stupid innocence.  To be sure, it is literally my job to defend people charged with crimes. And I really, really like my job. And I think I’m pretty good at it.  But innocent people, those poor guys, are in a nightmare scenario. The system has already failed them. They were arrested. They may have spent some time in jail. They had to hire a lawyer. And they definitely have to keep coming to court, being reminded over and over again of the nightmare, until the case is over. When will it be over? Maybe when the case gets dropped. Or maybe when they plead guilty and admit to doing something they didn’t do. Or maybe when a jury of their peers says they’re guilty of the crime! The sense of powerlessness, of the monstrous  gears of justice grinding you into a fine powder, is just overwhelming. Where do I come in? Now I am the one tasked with throwing a monkey wrench into those gears until the innocent person is safe and free. There is no one else. I had a couple memorable cases with innocent people recently. In the first the person asserted his trial rights and faced his accuser. The accuser’s story was full of holes. The police investigation was incompetent to the point of being laughable. The jury found him guilty. In the second I dug up records, pointed out holes in the accuser’s...

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By on Nov 10, 2016 in Civil Rights, Communication, Constitution | 0 comments

As I said in my last post, politics-related posts aren’t ideal  for business. Oh well, in for a penny… But I do promise this one is not a rant nor idle gnashing of teeth. I am looking towards the future and I recommend you do the same. On a personal note, I was unhappy with the results of the presidential election. I thought Hillary was by far the most qualified person for the position. But on another personal note, I just hate losing in general. In a past life I competed on the national stage in certain competitive endeavors. A loss there, usually after months of preparation, made me half livid and half despondent. These days it’s only after an intense trial that those feelings arise, but apparently a national election too. I’ll say my visceral reaction to losses is not my best trait, but it probably makes me a better competitor/attorney. Either way, a scowl on my face and a clenching of my stomach, my body welcoming back an old friend. But that was the day after. And now we’re after that, and I’ve settled and reflected and talked to people both happy and unhappy with the results.  First, for those that are unhappy with the results, let us recognize literally millions of people would be feeling exactly the same way if Hillary had won. Are only our feelings legitimate? No. People were invested in this election on both sides, and whether your candidate won or lost doesn’t change the fact that millions upon millions felt strongly about their side too.  Why did Donald Trump win? The doom-and-gloomers think because Donald was a voice for the racists, the misogynists, the tyrannical. I have no doubt there is some truth there, in the sense that those people exist.  But I don’t think for one second the majority of his supporters are the second coming of the third Reich. I believe large, large swaths of his voters felt disenfranchised by the system and wanted to feel like they had a measure of control in their lives. And not only is that an extremely legitimate reason to engage with the political process, those people are probably correct. Whether Donald can solve their woes is another question, but...

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By on Oct 21, 2016 in Civil Rights, Family, Voting | 1 comment

This is my business’s website. The purpose of this website is to let potential clients know of my firm’s existence and give them enough information to hire me to assist them with their issues. To that end I have my contact info, my FAQ, and a short blurb about me. This is standard stuff for any lawyer, or any small business really. What is less common is the blog I have maintained for over five years. The purpose of this blog is primarily marketing of course. Potential clients get to see that I can string two words together, that I am competent in the subject matter for what they may need a lawyer, and a little personality, which is simply a preview that working with me is generally not unpleasant. But don’t just take my word for it… With that in mind, maintaining a blog is a little risky. I separate myself from the nameless suits with a higher marketing budget competing for business, but it could go either way. I may miss a typo, write a joke that falls flat, use a too-fancy word, or in some alternatively enigmatic way, turn off what would otherwise be a positive relationship. To that end, my blog posts have tried to stick with law relevant to the criminal defense field, practical advice for people dealing with police and the courts, personal stories, and the occasional humor piece. I try to stay away from political stuff (mostly) for a couple of related reasons. Once again, it doesn’t make good business sense to alienate potential clients who may have different ideologies than me. And my word doesn’t depend on my clients agreeing with my political views, I fight hard regardless. To be sure, I’ve had some fun conversations with past clients on issues we agree on, and on issues we don’t. But if I laid a very ideological line in the sand, I would worry that potential clients would feel I didn’t have their best interests at heart because we disagreed on a particular referendum, or whatever. Of course nothing could be farther from the truth. I’m hired to do a job, which is usually to protect my clients from the government trying to throw my clients...

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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.