Solitary Confinement: The Antithesis of Rehabilitation

A recent article in GQ offers a horrifying look at the use of solitary confinement in America’s prison system.  GQ interviewed 48 current and former prisoner in addition to correction officials, attorneys, researchers and activists.  This is a must read article for all criminal defense attorneys and attorneys advocating for prisoner rights.  In essence, in the mind of this reader, solitary confinement is devoid of rehabilitation.  Its pure punishment, if not torture with financial and societal costs. [Read more…]

The 6th Amendment to the US Constitution Requires It

If you are criminal defense attorney representing documented and undocumented non-us citizens in the criminal justice system, you should absolutely-100% be advising them to discuss their circumstances with immigration attorneys. Criminal defense attorneys should also be conferring with immigration attorneys. [Read more…]

Opposition to Recreational Marijuana in AZ Intensifies

In November, Arizona residents will vote on Proposition 205 (2016) regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana in their state.  The decriminalization of marijuana is a topic of interest to me.  As a criminal defense attorney in Washington, I routinely represented clients in the criminal justice system faced with felony and misdemeanor marijuana offenses pre-passage of I-502 (which appeared on the general election ballot in Washington in 2012). [Read more…]

“Cite” No Longer a 4-Letter RE Unpublished Opinions (Washington)

Last week in Washington State GR 14.1 went effect.  I am not sure its the type of change in the law that will garner much press, but for attorneys (especially criminal defense attorneys) its a pretty big deal.  Why?  Let me explain.  Dating all the way back to my first year of law school, we were all taught it was a major no-no to cite an unpublished opinion.  Citing an unpublished opinion was unprofessional, unethical and a sanctionable act. [Read more…]

Are Jury Trials Headed Toward Extinction? Not Really. But the Numbers Aren’t Good.

Interesting recent article in the New York Times on the declining number of jury trials both criminal and civil in our judicial system. The article begins with a trial judge in the Federal District Court in Manhattan recalling only one criminal trial in the four-plus years he’s been on the bench. That’s a sobering number when you consider the size of the district in which Judge Jesse M. Furman sits. [Read more…]

State v. Wisdom, 187 Wash.App. 652 (Division 3) w/ Comments

In 2015, the Washington State Court of Appeals Division 3 decided State v. Wisdom, 187 Wash.App. 652.

The defendant in the case was arrested because the truck he was driving in was stolen.  Subsequent to his arrest, a toiletry bag on a seat in the truck was searched by law enforcement.  The search led to the recovery of illegal drugs. Wisdom told the officer there was methamphetamine on the seat of the truck.  But never consented to the police officer’s search of the toiletry bag.   [Read more…]

Pot Shop Sting Op

Yesterday, it was reported in The Columbia via the Associated Press a sting operation focusing on pot shop sales of marijuana to minors allegedly resulted in 4 of 22 pot shops being non-compliant.  The brief article mentioned 10-day suspensions or fines up to $2,500.00 could occur.  Apparently, notice was given on May 12, 2015 by the liquor board to the various shops regarding the crackdown.  Additionally, the store employees accused of the sales are having their cases referred to the prosecutors office for potential criminal prosecution. [Read more…]

“Faces of Meth” a Decade Old

Oregonian writer Kasia Hall recently wrote an article on the 10 year Anniversary of “Faces of Meth” launched in 2004.  Anyone doing criminal defense work like me should read this article.  Please find below a link to Hall’s article in its entirety. [Read more…]

Passage of New Law in 2012 May Help Expedite Evaluation of Mentally Ill Criminal Defendants in Clark County

News was reported in The Columbian on October 29, 2014 by Journalist Paris Achen, “Clark County may become the second county in the state to use a panel of local experts to evaluate mentally ill defendants, rather than ask the state hospital to perform competency evaluations, local officials said.” [Read more…]

Economists to Discuss Legalized Weed at Econ Forum

As we inch closer to November 2014 elections and ballot measures in Oregon; specifically, Measure 91, the potential for legalized marijuana continues to draw interest not only from criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, cannabis lawyers, law enforcement, and dispensaries, processors and growers — but economists, as well. [Read more…]