A family retained me on Friday after their son was arrested for
shooting and killing a man. My investigator and I went to the
scene over the weekend, we interviewed witnesses, and we located the
crucial defense witness who had already left town. We obtained a
tape recorded statement from that witness by Sunday night. I got it
to the prosecuting attorney after hours. By the first court
hearing on Monday morning, the prosecutor agreed it was a case of
self-defense. The court released the client. No criminal
charge was ever filed.
Homicide/Child Abuse: A new father retained me when his infant son was
hospitalized in a coma. The State believed the child had been
shaken to cause brain injury. The court restricted the parents'
access to their child in the hospital. We obtained visitation to
permit the young parents to see and hold their baby, who soon died. A
later autopsy revealed no evidence of abuse. No charge was filed.
Attempted Homicide: A young mother tried to kill herself by driving her
van into a freeway barrier. Fortunately her two young sons in the van
were not seriously hurt. The State charged her with two counts of
attempted murder. The client went quickly from the jail into a state
hospital. A psychiatrist doing intake conferred with counsel. This
immediate observation and consultation preserved evidence of the
client's severe mental illness and led to an agreed disposition of not
guilty by reason of insanity. The client was hospitalized and received
mental health treatment. She was released to live with her family after a
few years instead of being imprisoned for many years.
Homicide/Self-Defense: A teenage shot and killed his father as
he walked in the door after work. The father had horrifically abused
the client, his mother and brother for ten years. We presented
witnesses of the years of abuse. Expert witnesses testified to the
effect of prolonged
abuse on his development and perceptions. They explained how "battered
child syndrome" gave the client a heightened perception of when the
abuser would attack, and why he reasonably feared for his life when he
shot the man in self defense. The jury was unable to reach a
verdict. The State
later resolved the case with a plea to manslaughter and credit for time served.
Homicide/Battered Women's Syndrome: My client was tried for killing her
abusive boyfriend. The trial court gave an incorrect instruction on
assault. Realizing its error, the court granted a new trial. The State
appealed. The Court of Appeals agreed the instruction was incorrect and
grant of a new trial. State v. Corn, 95 Wn. App. 41, 975 P.2d 520 (1999).
Homicide/Self-Defense: My client was convicted at trial of second degree
murder. The Supreme Court reversed his conviction because the court
failed to give instructions on a lesser included offense based on
self-defense. State v. Schaffer, 135 Wn.2d 355, 957 p.2d 214 (1998).
Aggravated First Degree Murder: My client was convicted of killing two
people based on circumstantial evidence. On appeal, we challenged the
State's procedure for obtaining a search warrant to search the client's
home. The Court of Appeals held the search warrant was
unconstitutional, reversed the convictions, and ordered a new trial
without the evidence obtained with the warrant.
Pre-SRA Parolability Hearing: In 2001, I represented a client on a 1983
murder conviction seeking parole. We presented a plan the Board approved
at his first parolability hearing.