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Constitution

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 7, 2016 in Communication, Constitution, Court, Criminal, Jury, Podcast, Procedure | 0 comments

This week’s episode is about jury duty. I’m joined by Brianna and Dan, who recently had jury duty. Brianna was a juror on a serious manslaughter case and Dan was a juror in Seattle Municipal Court, and it’s interesting to hear the similarities and differences of their experience. It’s a long episode but we had a great discussion. Plus a very special surprise guest WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN BED makes a quick visit.    You can download the entire episode here. If you enjoyed the episode, please leave a comment and share and subscribe on...

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By on Sep 19, 2016 in Communication, Constitution, Podcast, Procedure | 0 comments

This week is part two of my interview with Justice McCloud. We had a great talk about bad lawyering, the work of the Washington Supreme Court behind the scenes, and lots more. Again huge thanks to Justice McCloud for opening her chambers up to chat with me. Enjoy! You can download the full episode here. If you have any feedback or ideas of future episodes, please leave a comment...

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By on Aug 11, 2016 in Case Law, Communication, Constitution, Court, Criminal, Police, Procedure | 0 comments

Warning: Rambling thoughts ahead. A friend of the firm sent me a link to the NPR’s Radiolab podcast about “The Buried Bodies Case.” The link for the episode is there and I urge you to give it a listen. It’s well-put together. But for those stuck looking at their phones during a meeting, here’s the summary:   The Case In 1973 Robert Garrow was arrested for murder, after a very substantial manhunt. He was appointed two attorneys to represent him in that case: Frank Armani and Francis Belge. In the course of their representation, their client told the attorneys that he was responsible for additional murders. He described killing a couple of teenagers that at the time had been missing for months. Furthermore, he told the lawyers exactly where the bodies of the those victims would be found.  The attorneys drove to the sites of supposed bodies and did in fact find the murdered children. At the time, the parents of the children did not know where their kids were, or even if they were still alive. The lawyers wanted to tell the authorities about the kids. Obviously letting the parents know the fate of their children would have crushed them, but it also would have let the parents have the peace of knowing what actually happened. In addition, the parents would get to know that their children’s killer wasn’t just in custody, but had actually confessed to the crimes. The parents would be able to get some measure of justice for their murdered children. There was just one problem with sharing the information about the victims with the families, the prosecutors, with the media, with anyone: The attorney/client relationship. Mr. Garrow had only told his lawyers about his crimes, and his lawyers determined they were duty-bound to keep that information confidential. Even information as impactful as what mine shaft a missing child had been deposited. Frank Armani was a guest on the Radiolab program, and I do urge you to listen yourself to hear how devastating it was for Mr. Armani to sit on this information. It was painful for Mr. Armani to recount even 40 years later. There was a scene where one of the parents went to Mr. Armani during his representation, before the victims had been found, and...

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By on Jun 3, 2016 in Constitution, Court, Criminal, Podcast | 0 comments

As regular visitors know, I am a Seattle-based criminal defense attorney. I am also the producer of a criminal defense podcast that is intentionally-acclaimed. And I’m excited to report that I have some great episodes in the pipe that I’m excited to get out soon.  But not today. Instead, to get your legal info fix, I’m recommending Radiolab’s newest production: More Perfect. The premise is a deep look at matters out of the United States Supreme Court. Their first episode, a thoroughly engrossing look at recent capital punishment cases, is a must listen. I’m excited for the next episode, and I’m excited more criminal justice podcasts are getting in the game! Give it a listen, and check back next week for more blog posts and BetterNoahLawyer...

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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.