First Installment of Semi-Regular Attorney Hero Acknowledgment

If you are like me.  And you’ve ever been frustrated with yellow chalk on your car tires courtesy of parking enforcement.  There’s good news.  Well at least if you reside in a state encompassed by the 6th Circuit which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

In short, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit unanimously agreed that chalking tires is tantamount to a trespass.  The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures”.  The court held chalking tires is indeed a “search” under a Fourth Amendment analysis. 

Furthermore, the court held the search was not reasonable, the city searched ‘lawfully parked vehicles without probable cause or even individualized suspicion of wrongdoing’ the standard for a reasonableness analysis under the Fourth Amendment. 

So without further adieu, a hearty congratulations to the attorneys who litigated this issue all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.  Who knows?  Maybe someday this issue will be litigated successfully in the 9th Circuit which includes Washington and Oregon. 

See the NPR article here.

New Laws in Effect in Washington State regarding DUI Administrative Hearings

Attention: As of January 1, 2019, new laws are in effect in Washington State regarding DUI Administrative Hearings with the Washington Department of Licensing. The following law changes are effective immediately.

A request for an Administrative DUI Hearing with the Department of Licensing must be postmarked within 7 days of the date of arrest, or within 7 days of the date the notice was given. If your request is not made within this time frame, you will have waived your right to a hearing. Before the new law change went into effect on January 1, 2019, the driver had 20 days to request a DUI Hearing with the Department of Licensing. The old law is now void. 20 days has been greatly reduced to 7 days to request a hearing following notice.

Next, any valid license in your possession is only valid for 30 days from the date of this arrest, the expiration date noted on the license, or until the Department’s action is upheld at a hearing, whichever occurs first. Before the new law change went into effect on January 1, 2019, the license suspension started 60 days from the date of arrest. The old law is now void. As of January 1, 2019, a valid license is now only valid for 30 days from the date of arrest unless a request for a hearing is timely submitted.

If you have been arrested in Washington State for Driving Under the Influence — time is of the essence to speak with an attorney regarding your rights. The timeline to speak with an attorney regarding your rights has been truncated exponentially with these new law changes.

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…]