July 26, 2017

3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets

 

Ron Davis, father of the 17-year old killed in the incident depicted in the film “31/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets”, will be present at the free showing of the film this Sunday, 4/17, 5 pm. – Clark College Gaiser Student Center

Anatomy of an Assault

On the evening of June 17, 2015 Mr. Cameron and Deana Lentz sat in the dark, next to a trail, conversing while music played.  The trail ran from Mr. Sommerville’s tent to Fred Meyers between Pearson Air Field and Highway 14.  Mr. Sommerville (Gary), who’d that night learned Mr. Cameron was back, armed himself with a hoe handle and a knife, before walking by and saying “Let’s go Dee.”  Mr. Cameron protested with, can’t a guy talk to his girlfriend to which Gary responded don’t you mean your ex-girlfriend.  The conversation deteriorated from there and Gary (who’d previously been convicted of a crime of dishonesty) testified that:

  • Cameron threatened to kill him.
  • He walked away holding Deana’s hand after Cameron’s death threat (i.e. making no effort to run or hide) but told her to run as Mr. Cameron approached and she was 50-75’ down the trail when the fight ensued.
  • He swung his hoe handle first and multiple times at Mr. Cameron (though he denied d hitting him)
  • Cameron hit him with a 40-pound weight bar causing a compound fracture to his right hand (and causing him to drop the hoe handle) and three cuts on his head (the longest of which was photographed by police after being stapled shut at Peace Health and presented as an exhibit to the jury)

On June 18, Mr. Cameron wrote his version of events for the police, which the jury was able to read because it was marked as a State’s Exhibit:  “My girlfriend and I got into an argument she went out on the trail from tent I went out in 5 min.  We were listening to music.  Red [Gary] came up behind us with a shovel handle and threatening to hit me.  I asked him to leave 5 times, my girlfriend started walking down the trail Red then hit me with the shovel handle in the hand we wrestled then he hit me in the ear with his shovel handle.  I went out in a seizure.  I came to and went down the trail because my girl was yelling saying stay away.  I feared for my life.  I feared for my girl too so I went to protect her.  I hit him in self-defense with a stick.  I hit him two times that I know of.”

Deana Lentz, who initially dated Mr. Cameron prior to his going to jail for a couple weeks, and subsequently dated Mr. Sommerville testified to the following:

  • She did not include the death threat in her rendition of the event.
  • She walked away holding Gary’s hand and was standing right there, 1-5’ from the action as the fight unfolded.
  • She did not see Gary swing his small bamboo walking stick at Mr. Cameron.
  • Cameron hit him with a 60-pound weight bar.

Sommerville, Lentz and police agreed that no blood was found at the scene of the fight, nor was a blood trail found, though Mr. Sommerville was bleeding profusely from the head when flagging down motorists at the Columbia House gore point onto Highway 14.

 

The defense asserted 25 reasons for doubt and highlighted 7 inconsistencies between Gary and Deana’s testimony.  The defense emphasized Gary’s only photographed head injury showed neither the bruising nor swelling that one would expect a weight bar to cause; asserted Gary’s motive for making his claim was: get the girl and avoid jail.  The defense highlighted Gary’s admission that he’d cut himself before going back to jail.  The defense pointed out that Deana overheard Gary telling police about the weight bar, thus explaining why both would make this claim & concluded with what are the chances that a long heavy weight bar landed all injuries within the narrow confines of Gary’s Mohawk?

On January 8, 2016, following over five hours of deliberations the jury returned verdicts of:

“Not Guilty” of Assault in the First Degree (Class A felony, strike offense)

“Not Guilty” of Assault in the Second Degree (Class B felony, strike offense)

“Guilty” of Assault in the Fourth Degree, (Gross Misdemeanor), and

“Guilty” of Felony Harassment-Death Threat.

I suspect the jury reasoned:

  1. It was not 1st degree Assault because the State simply didn’t prove grievous bodily harm and further disbelieved the use of a “weight bar” (i.e. a metal bar swung as a club = deadly weapon which would be capable of producing death) to cause these injuries.
  2. Although defendant fractured Gary’s hand, which qualifies by jury instruction definition as a 2nd degree Assault, Mr. Cameron did so in self-defense as Gary’s hand was struck causing him to drop the hoe handle that fractured Cameron’s finger (a fracture testified to by physician’s assistant).
  3. Even though Mr. Cameron was justified in striking him, he wasn’t justified in striking him in the head after he knocked the hoe handle from his hand when fracturing Gary’s right hand; and
  4. Even though Deana Lentz didn’t testify about the death threat, neither side asked her about it, and in the context of what each side said, it made sense that Mr. Cameron made this statement.

By rejecting the State’s 8-year offer for an Assault in the 2nd Degree plea, and risking 28 years if a jury found him guilty of Assault in the 1st Degree, Mr. Cameron (with an offender score of 9) was sentenced to 5 years in prison less credit time already served based on the Felony Harassment.  Judge Stahnke ran his 364 days on the Assault in the 4th degree time run concurrent (meaning it will be served at the same time) and with good time Mr. Cameron should be free by Christmas 2018.

Media coverage by The Columbian here.

Chivalry is making a Comeback!

Come in or call Friday for A Pair of Free Tickets to Old Fashioned this Valentine’s Day     (offer available to the first student from each area high school, Clark College, and WSU-Vancouver with valid ID). 360-696-4495

 

My wife and I saw Old Fashioned at a private screening back east last October and were so impressed we wanted to share it with our hometown.  I’ve spent over 15 years defending and divorcing people and almost daily see the pain of divorce and the scars it leaves on children.  This movie is a call to finding true love by old fashioned dating.  Increase the likelihood that your love will last a lifetime, so you never build your happiness on your children’s sadness.

 

Movie: 2 free tickets to the first student to enter my office with a valid student ID from each high school, Clark College, and WSU-Vancouver.

Dinner: Our firm will treat one student* to either (a) dinner for two at a local restaurant of your choice, or (b) dinner for you and every friend who attended Old Fashioned with you at the restaurant of our choice.  No alcohol.

*Each group must meet Todd Pascoe or his staff at the end of the movie for a photograph in front of the Old Fashioned screen at the front of the theater immediately after the February 14, 2015 at 7:30pm showing at Clackamas Town Center’s Theater with Old Fashioned movie ticket stub.  The student with the largest group will win the free dinner.

W. Todd Pascoe, PLLC
1104 Main Street Suite 200 
Vancouver WA 98660
360-696-4495

Work Release Hero

New England Cheats Snowplow GameDeflate-gate is the dominant storyline heading into Super Bowl XLIX which brought to mind another New England Patriot game where there is indisputable video evidence of the New England Patriots gaining an unfair competitive advantage over their opponent.  In December 1982, on a snow covered field, Miami and New England had struggled to a zero-zero tie when late in the game New England’s coach (Ron Meyer) and quarterback (Steve Grogan) encouraged a work release inmate standing on the sidelines to jump on a John Deere 314 tractor with a 4’ brush on the front to brush the snow from the 22 yard line so New England could attempt a game-winning field goal.  Moments later, John Smith kicked the 32-yard game winning field goal from the spot prepared for him by the work release snow plow driver lifting New England to a 3-0 win.  During an interview with NFL Films, Mark Henderson, the work release driver fondly recalled his name up on the Diamond Vision board and “the whole stadium was yelling my name, Henderson, Henderson, Henderson.”

 

To qualify for work release in Clark County WA, and an opportunity to be a hero (or at least be housed with other inmates working or attending school) you must be able to say each of the following:

 

  1. I can pay $15 per day (usually want the initial two weeks up front as a $225 payment)
  2. I have maintained the same job for the past two weeks.
  3. I am on payroll and receive a payroll check from which taxes are deducted and my employer pays L & I (labor & industries insurance).
  4. I work at a job within 30 miles of the Clark County Work Release (CCWR) facility located at 5197 NW Lower River Rd. (note: 30 miles as the crow flies, they will work with you if you’re close)
  5. I will be supervised at work at all times (CCWR officials do physical spot checks, so your employer needs to know and be on board with you doing work release).
  6. I work at a fixed location, or at least will be at no more than 3 specific locations each day.
  7. I must pass a drug test upon entry and I recognize that if I fail I go straight to jail to serve my sentence. (note: marijuana use prior to entry will not disqualify you, however you cannot use while you’re in work release and all subsequent drug tests must show a number below your baseline entry number for marijuana – which stays in your system approximately 30 days)
  8. I must pass a tuberculosis test.
  9. Transportation (one of the following):
    1. I am a licensed driver who owns or has access to a registered and insured vehicle.
    2. I have a licensed driver who is willing to provide me transportation in a registered and insured vehicle.
    3. I am able to ride public transportation to and from my job (note: CCWR provides a shuttle that goes on the hour and drops off on 13th and Broadway and picks up behind the jail, which allows inmates to ride public transportation).
  10. I cannot work seven (7) days in a row.
  11. I cannot work more than sixty (60) hours per week.
  12. I will work at least thirty (30) hours per week (though on a temporary basis CCWR may permit you to work fewer than 30 hours per week).

 

If the Judge sentences you to work release, you must immediately call Clark County Work Release at 397-2138.  If you qualify work release will advise you when to turn yourself in.  If you do not qualify, work release has to take you to jail, unless the Judge specifies on the Court Order that you can report back to court or turn yourself into jail on a specific date in the future.

 

If you are a student, you may also qualify for School Release so long as your school is willing to work with CCWR.  Clark College works well except for sex offenses.  Students must provide CCWR with their school schedule and your instructor must sign that you attend each class.

 

To see a short video by NFL Films about the Snowplow Game, go to: The Snow Plow Game

Or watch a YouTube clip from the original NBC broadcast.

 

To discuss whether to take your criminal case to trial and/or diversion, work release or other sentencing options please contact one of our experienced attorneys today at 360.696.4495.

 

 

Holiday Travel Plans include Canada, eh?

Travel CanadaWhether you’re planning to ski at Whistler, visit the Bug Zoo in Victoria, or just enjoy the other Vancouver with your kid(s) this holiday, be prepared with the right documentation. Simply relying on your passport(s) may not guarantee crossing the border with your child unless both parents are present or have consented. On a trip to Victoria this summer, my wife and daughter received the third degree by a Canadian border official because she was unaware that even a happily married parent may face stiff scrutiny, if both parents are not present at the border . To avoid denial of entry or interrogation delay (and your trip flashing before your eyes) you should have a consent letter signed by any adult with custody or visitation rights for the child aged 19 or younger.

The consent letter needs to include as much detail as possible, but at a minimum the non-accompanying parent’s:
-Address
-Phone number
-Copy of their passport or national identification card (attached to the letter)
-Preferably be notarized by a notary public (available at our office thanks for our paralegal, Jamie Schulz, or any bank)

Additionally, if the parents are separated or divorced you should have a copy of your Parenting Plan/Residential Schedule and if you anticipate trips to Canada or out-of the country you should encourage your lawyer to include language addressing international travel which is tailored to your individual needs. In cases where one of the child’s parents is deceased, a copy of the death certificate should be presented. For more comprehensive coverage, I recommend you Google this issue as Canada has several good websites dedicated to this topic.

More questions?  Call or visit us today at 360-696-4495.  1104 Main Street, Suite 200, Vancouver WA 98860

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How does today’s Supreme Court ruling effect you and your cellphone

Supreme Court Protects Cell Phones

cellphone

Question: May police, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested?

 
In April 2014, the Supreme Court heard two fact patterns that raised this common question:

1st Case: Police searching Riley incident to the arrest seized a cell phone from Riley’s pants pocket. The Officer noticed the repeated use of a term associated with a street gang, a second officer specializing in gangs viewed the phone. Based in part on photographs and videos that the detective found, the State charged Riley in connection with a shooting that had occurred a few weeks earlier and sought an enhanced sentence based on Riley’s gang membership

2nd Case: Officers seized a cell phone from Wurie’s person and noticed that the phone was receiving multiple calls from a source identified as “my house” on its external screen. The officers opened the phone, accessed its call log, determined the number associated with the “my house” label, and traced that number to what they suspected was Wurie’s apartment. They secured a search warrant and found drugs, a firearm and ammunition, and cash in the ensuing search. Wurie was then charged with drug and firearm offenses.

Answer: And on June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States Held: The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.

Legal Advice: Be careful what you put in your phone because the Court’s holding is not that the information on a cell phone is immune from search; it is that a warrant is generally required before a search and police can use other information (just not digital content from your phone) to seek a warrant to view the contents of your phone which may prove a treasure trove of evidence for the Prosecution.

8,336 Reasons to Call Vancouver Cab

How Much Does a DUI really cost?

Photo (2)

Base Costs for a DUI*

$595.00            Fine (mandatory minimum of $940.50 on WA DUI Grid includes $343.50 below)

$  43.00            Conviction Fee/Court Improvement Fee

$200.00            Emergency Response Cost (or actual costs up to $2,500)

$200.00            BAC fee

$102.50            Traffic Penalty Assessment

$ 75.00             Victim’s Impact Panel

$ 60.00             Evaluation for Chemical Dependency (ranges up to $200 depending on agency)

$ 75.00             Alcohol Drug Information School (min. treatment needed to get license reinstated)

$150.00            Driver’s License reissue fee

$118.47            Ignition Interlock Installation (some newer models & hybrids cost an addt’l $50)

$1,048.56         Ignition Interlock (one-year mandatory minimum for first time DUI conviction)

$300.00            SR22 Insurance (estimate of increased premium, varies by driving record)

 

Potential Extra Costs:

$   314              City of Vancouver Filing Fee

$   100              City of Vancouver Emergency Response Cost is $100 more than the County

$   225              Electronic Home Confinement (if permitted in lieu of one-day jail)

$1,000              Passenger under 16

$1,300              Out-Patient Treatment (26 weeks of weekly classes $50/per class)

$   105              Random UA’s (average of three per customer at $35/per UA).

$2,400              Probation Fee of $100/mo. which ends when all conditions are met.

$   375              DOL Hearing Request

 

Legal Services:

$1,500-2,500     Hiring at Attorney (prices vary) / Court-Appointed Attorney fee is $150

 

 

Base Costs:      $2,967.53

Legal Costs:     $2,000.00

Extra Costs**:  $3,369.00

Total Costs:      $8,336.03***

 

 

 

*First Offense with a BAC Reading of greater than .08 but less than .15 (Refusals and > .15 cost more)

**Many Vancouver WA DUI Convictions

***$8,336.03 buys a lot of cab rides.  So let a professional cab driver from Vancouver Cab get you safely home tonight.  ~ W. Todd Pascoe

 

Compiled by W. Todd Pascoe and Gregory S Cheney 6/2014 (sources of information include: Anchor Point; Clark County Corrections; Clark County District Court; Guardian Interlock Systems; Revised Code of Washington)

Winning…

win-today“Win today, and we walk together forever…”

We had just moved from Pennsylvania when Fred Shero, coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, wrote “Win today, and we walk together forever…” on their dressing room blackboard before game 6.  The Flyers won this game over Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins to capture their first Stanley Cup.

 

 Three clients and their lawyer walk together forever

In early June 2014, I recognized Greg’s name and delayed my departure from arraignments long enough to re-connect with a man I hadn’t see since we prevailed in a Residential Burglary trial when we were both much younger.  Trying to explain the sentiments to our firm’s summer extern, I reached back to Shero’s famous quote, “win today, and we walk together forever.”

 

Earlier this week, I heard another man say, “do you remember me?”—I stared into his face for a long moment, before exclaiming, “Kevin” and we discussed the case where a jury found him “Not Guilty” of harassing some fellow beachgoers at Frenchman’s Bar.

 

And last but not least, just months after a hung jury propelled his cases to resolution and his freedom, Bob’s favorite team, the Los Angeles Kings, raised the Stanley Cup.  While the teams shook hands, Bob sent me a text celebrating the result from Disneyland where he’d spent the day with his son. 

Photo (5)

 Greg, Kevin, and Bob are but three of my clients who understand the true meaning of winning in a courtroom and walking together forever.

 

SI Cover

 

Police Targeting Cell Phone Use by Drivers, April 10 – 15, 2014

Texting While Driving
First it was Tim McGraw’s “Highway Don’t Care” on 99.5 the Wolf.  Next it was the Ad Council’s billboard (pictured); and this week’s it’s your local police echoing the angst ridden bumper sticker: “Hang Up and Drive.”

 

If you’ve been slow to listen and quick to talk, this blog’s for you:  Police Targeting Cell Phone Use by Drivers, April 10 – 15, 2014.

Vancouver Police and Clark County Sheriff’s Officers, not to mention Washington State Patrol and many other law enforcement agencies will be targeting distracted drivers who are committing traffic infractions by talking or texting on their hand-held cellular phone.  This is all part of a concerted national campaign with the slogan, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”
Specifcally Washington Law states:

 “a person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction…”

Exceptions include:

·         Using your hand-held phone to:

o   Report Illegal Activity

o   Call for Medical help

o   Call for emergency help

o   Prevent injury to a person or property (think reporting the swerving driver in front of you)

·         An infraction for this will cost you money, but will not:

o   Appear on your driving record

o   Be reported to your insurance company.

If you need any advice because you didn’t heed RCW 46.61.667, Tim McGraw, or this local lawyer’s blog, then contact us today.

Of potentially greater significance is if you’re distracted driving leads to an injury or death, you can be charged with Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide (both felonies that we handle, but hope you never need our services for).

 

http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/apr/08/crackdown-on-distracted-driving-washington/#

 

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.