September 24, 2017

More Than A Snow Day

photo(1)On Wednesday his Dad passed and his wife gave me an emergency call.  On Thursday the Prosecutor cut her offer by more than half .  On Friday the judicial assistant added his case to the docket.  The Judge followed the recommended sentence and the Courthouse closed early, yet one client left the Clark County Jail to grieve with family that understood better than anyone else.  Not many attorneys were unable to make it to court, but snow should not prevent justice.  The system is not perfect, but a heart guided by the golden rule can change one client’s experience with the system.

Super Bowl Sunday Tips for the 12th Man

Avoiding a DUI

1.  You could get over 25 cab rides* for the average price of a DUI

2.  According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, traffic accidents spike more than 40 percent in the hours after the Super Bowl — an average of 1,300 more crashes, 600 more injuries and seven more deaths nationwide.  More telling? In states with the losing team (Go Seahawks), the number of crashes increases 68 percent after the game, but accidents rise only 6 percent in the state with the winning team.  Source ESPN.com

3.  If you ignore #1 & #2, then memorize the following:
* Be polite
* Give your real name (giving a false name is a new crime and can sometimes be charged as a felony)
* Be silent, except to request a lawyer
* Refuse to take the Field Sobriety Tests
* Do not consent to a search of your car
* Never touch a police officer (this can be a felony assault)

Avoiding a DV arrest

1.  Although it now appears to be a myth that domestic violence (DV) increases on Super Bowl Sunday, nevertheless, this being just the 2nd time Washington’s team has made a Super Bowl I thought it worthwhile to remind you that if police respond to a DV call, they will arrest the person they interpret to be the primary aggressor and this person will:
* Be taken to the Clark County Jail (360-397-2207)
* Appear before the Judge on Monday at 9am for felonies or 1:30 p.m. for Misdemeanors (call my office to confirm, 360-696-4495)
* The Judge routinely imposes a No Contact Order forbidding contact between the accused and the victim, regardless of the victim’s peference.
* All jail phone calls are recorded, so do not break the no contact order by calling the victim.

2.  Love your lover more than your team–you are not the only 12th man and it’s not her fault (regardless of Bud Light’s “whatever it takes” to help your team win slogan).

3.  Separate and take a 3-30 minute walk, remembering that Vancouver’s low temperature is likely warmer than the Seahawks and Peyton Manning’s Broncos played in for 3 plus hours — if that hasn’t worked remember that DV Treatment could cost over $1,800 (including probation fees) not to mention the inconvenience of spending on average 3 months apart from the one you love (or even your roommate who happened to be rooting for the Broncos).

*Call Vancouver Cab,Clark County Cab, Battle Ground Cab, 360-737-3333  $2.50 to get in the cab and then $2.40/mile, meter is running until you exit and pay. To prevent DUI’s they’ve partnered with 5 local bars and offering 10% off from Main Event (Downtown & East; Legends in Hazel Dell, Charlie’s off 112th, and Irish Town in Cascade Park or if you mention this W. Todd Pascoe’s blog post www.pascoe-law.com).

Or call Radio Cab, 360-694-1234, $2.50 to enter, $2.50/mile, $1 per additional passenger, and $0.50 a minute when cab at a complete stop (e.g. red light or waiting for customer).

Memorable Speech, Clean Record

More than a decade ago my client gave the “Gettysburg Address” of marijuana speeches. I’ve never forgotten it and enjoyed reminiscing with the court clerk who still remembered it too. But earlier this month I stood in the same courtroom and heard something less eloquent but much superior as the Judge granted my motion to vacate the conviction. This closes the door on a mistake that would have haunted this professional to be, but now, as the court order states, “[f]or all purposes, including responding to question on employment applications, the defendant may state that he or she has never been convicted of the offense”. For many cases it’s not too late to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.

#Vacating Record; Expungement; Criminal Record; Manufacture Marijuana; Growing Marijuana

 

DOL Licenses Border Scofflaws, Suspends Traffic Scofflaws

Washington issues driver’s licenses to undocumented aliens, while withholding the privilege from those who fail to pay a speeding ticket. 

In 2011, legislators tried but failed to change this policy.  Since the Hispanic vote was seen as pivotal in the 2012 presidential victory of Barrack Obama, the policy trend is widening, as 9 other states give licenses regardless of immigration status (CO, CT, OR, MD, NM, NV, RI, UT, VT); and 11 states (including CA and TX) are considering bills to become like Washington; while just 2 states (AZ, NB) refuse licenses to young undocumented immigrants or anyone in the country illegally.  The rationale is simple: a licensed driver is more likely to be an insured driver which benefits everyone when an accident occurs; while not suspending for unpaid traffic fines would reduce revenue by removing the major incentive to pay one’s fines—thus the law makes sense even while causing political heartburn in some quarters.  Driving While License Suspended (DWS) is the most common criminal charge in Clark County WA, as police officers routinely run license plate numbers through the laptop computer in their car to determine if the registered owner of the vehicle is suspended.  If stopped, give your real name as giving a false name can lead to a more serious criminal charge called Obstructing or even the felony of Criminal Impersonation.    First Degree DWS carries mandatory jail time.   Second Degree DWS carry a one year license suspension and under some circumstances a mandatory 30-day confinement period.  Third Degree DWS tickets are routinely reduced to an infraction if the driver reinstates their driving privilege within a reasonable period of time.  To sign up for the Driver’s Restoration Program, which began in Clark County and has helped thousands regain the right to drive, call Clark County Corrections at 360.397.2436.

http://www.opb.org/news/article/push-wash-drivers-license-citizenship-checks/

Sources: Seattle Times / National Immigration Law Center          

Supreme Court expands DNA collection

Anyone convicted of a felony crime in America must give a DNA sample to the State. In Washington individuals convicted of certain gross misdemeanors (e.g. Harassment, Stalking, etc..) must also give a DNA sample. On June 3, the U.S. Supreme Court in ruled that when officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold a suspect for a serious offense and bring him to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. As Justice Scalia pointed out in a scathing dissent, anyone convicted of a felony must already give DNA, so the ruling really only affects those arrested but not convicted (e.g. the innocent). DNA evidence involves expert witnesses which is why a Washington Rape case I had was impacted by Hurricane Katrina (Reliagene lab is in New Orleans). During a 2012 trial a significant point in my cross-examination of police officers was their failure to collect DNA in a case. The State will often tell jurors, “this isn’t CSI” but technology continues to advance and you should consider hiring a lawyer like W. Todd Pascoe who’s experienced handling DNA cases. A list of most serious offenses in Washington can be found at RCW 9.94A.030 and includes every Class A felony and violent class B felonies such as Assault in the Second Degree and Robbery in the Second Degree. For more information on the Supreme Court’s upholding of a Rape conviction where the defendant received life imprisonment without parole because the State collected his DNA see the following web articles (note: the last is the actual Supreme Court opinion)
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/06/dna_collection_in_maryland_v_king_the_supreme_court_fails_on_the_fourth.html
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-207_d18e.pdf

Washington Passes “Good Samaritan” Law

Those under 21 who call for medical help for a drunk friend — and the friend — won’t face minor-in-possession-of-alcohol charges under a bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee this spring.
The law, approved by the Legislature last month, is meant to encourage minors to call 911 by removing the fear of prosecution. It follows a similar law for drug overdoses passed in 2010.
By expanding the law to cover alcohol, Washington has joined a growing list of states that have embraced the policy, sometimes over stark opposition due to fears it could encourage underage drinking.
Twelve states have now passed alcohol “good Samaritan” laws since Colorado approved the first one in 2005, according to The Medical Amnesty Initiative, a national nonprofit established last year to boost the policy.

Read more at the Columbian:
http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/may/09/in-our-view-feeling-free-call-911-alcohol-amnesty/

The Miranda Warning: Knowing your rights

Anyone who has ever watched a crime show on television probably will have heard the Miranda warning or some variation of it: “You have the right to remain silent…etc.” However, you might not know that the Miranda warning exists outside the realm of television, in real life. In fact, it is an integral part of an American citizen’s legal rights, designed to protect a person who has been accused, but not convicted, of a crime. But what is the Miranda warning, and how is it applied?

The Miranda warning originates from the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona case. The suspect, Ernesto Miranda, confessed to committing a crime while being questioned by police. He was not informed by the police questioning him that he had the right to remain silent or that he had the right to an attorney during the questioning. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled that Miranda’s Fifth Amendment right (the right not to incriminate oneself in a crime) had been violated, and that his statements could not be used as evidence. (Later Miranda was tried again with new evidence not obtained from his questioning and convicted.)
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Wrongful Termination: What is it? What are my options?

In the current economy, the job market can often be harsh. Unfortunately, many Americans have lost their jobs, and many businesses have performed lay-offs or dismissed employees. Most businesses practice care to ethically dismiss employees. But what about those that don’t?

Washington is an at-will state, which means that an employer may dismiss an employee for any reason beyond those prohibited by state and federal law. This is the standard employment agreement in Washington, unless there is an implied or explicit contract between the employer and employee that permits dismissal only for identified reasons. (For more information about employment practices prohibited by state and federal law, read our blog post “Discrimination in Employment”).
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Discrimination in employment

There are certain practices that employers are prohibited from doing when hiring, working with, or dismissing employees. These practices are prohibited by law and enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The laws are in place for the employee’s and the job-seeker’s protection, forbidding “discrimination in every aspect of employment,” according to the EEOC. In Washington, as well as the rest of United States, it is illegal for an employer to do the following:

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Distracted driving laws become more widely enacted

Most of us are well aware of the dangers of breaking traffic laws by speeding, running stop signs, and drinking and driving. But, driving distracted? Previously, distracted driving was rarely talked about, and the prevailing mentality was that everyone has to change the radio station sometime. However, with the advent of cell phones and texting (and the resulting accidents), distracted driving has become a hot-button issue.

A recent article in USA Today reports that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated his creation of a “national distracted driving initiative that pushes 11 states without laws against the deadly practice to enact them.” According to the article, LaHood has also advised Congress to adopt a nation-wide ban on cellphone use while driving.
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