Category Archives: Bellingham Defense Attorney

Alcohol vs. Cannabis vs. Tobacco: What’s the Worst?

Weed Seems to Protect Your Liver From the Effects of Hard Drinking

Intriguing article in The Hill by Journalist Alix Martichoux discusses medical advice on what substances harm health the worst: alcohol, tobacco or marijuana?

Although the doctors disagreed on what substance was most harmful, all three doctors agreed that marijuana was the least harmful.

Dr. Anand Akhil, a behavioral health doctor with Cleveland Clinic, said that when it comes to generalizing for the average person, alcohol was the worst, followed by tobacco.

“Alcohol use is linked to over 200 health conditions and diseases, damaging every organ system in the body . . . Depression, anxiety, dementia, cancers, heart and liver disease, and bone disease can all result from alcohol consumption. Similarly, tobacco use is largely connected to serious cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular diseases.” ~Dr. Anand Akhil

Dr. Kevin Most, chief medical officer at Northwestern Central DuPage Hospital, agreed in a recent interview with WGN Radio.

“I would certainly rank alcohol No. 1.  . . . I’m going to say that alcohol in moderation is OK, but too much alcohol is going to have impact on many illnesses.” ~Dr. Kevin Most

The harms of consuming tobacco, Dr. Most said, could be largely reversed when people stop smoking earlier in life. “If people understand the the risk of lung cancer, based on how many years you’ve been smoking and how much you’ve been smoking, if you stop that smoking at an early age … your lungs can reinvigorate and get back almost to normal.”

But Glickman disagreed, and ranked tobacco as worst due to the fact it has no proven health benefits.

“Tobacco I would argue is the worse substance of the three, given it has no conceivable benefit even in light amounts, and considerable risks. Tobacco has been linked to increases in heart disease, cancers, and premature mortality, among others . . . Alcohol on the other hand, could have benefits at light or moderate amounts, but then risks with large amounts.” ~Dr. Glickman

He said red wine in particular contains antioxidants, and pointed to studies showing up to one glass per day can reduce inflammation in blood vessels.

But all three doctors agreed on which ranked least harmful to the average person’s health.

“I would put marijuana third, mainly because we know that there’s a lot of medicinal uses for marijuana and used in the right format and in the controlled environment is fine,” Most said. He said chemotherapy patients often credit cannabis as the only thing keeping their appetite up, allowing them to get nutrition they need.

Glickman said evaluating cannabis’ healthfulness and harmfulness is more complicated than the other two.

“The available evidence suggests that cannabis could be of benefit when medically supervised as part of a treatment plan for certain conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, trauma, insomnia, and muscular disorders, among others,” he said. But Glickman went on to say cannabis use could make certain mental health issues worse, as well as impair memory and concentration.

He said the data suggests there is an extra risk to young adults whose brains aren’t fully developed.

Plus, Akhil noted, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have guidelines on how much alcohol adults can consume in moderation (up to two drinks a day for men, one drink for women), there are no such guidelines for safe cannabis or tobacco use.

“I think negative health consequences could be possible for all of the three substances, even in moderate amounts, depending on the person and situation,” Glickman said. “There is no foolproof vice.”

All three experts emphasized each person is unique, and you should always talk to your doctor about your specific situation.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with DUI or any other crime involving drugs and alcohol. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

UW Study Uncovers Acts of Violence Against Federal Detainees

Arizona migrant detention center officers verbally abused detainees, used  excessive force and chemical agents, report alleges |

new report documents the use of pepper spray and physical force used against immigrants detained at the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma. These acts of violence involved detainees engaged in peaceful protest and those with a history of mental illness.

In 2020, for example, a guard reportedly placed his knee on a detainee’s neck, prompting others to chant “Black Lives Matter” and “get your knee off his neck.” The man from Sudan told Tacoma police that guards had twisted back his arms and shoulders to the point where he lost feeling in them. He was eventually placed on suicide watch and taken to a psychiatric facility. He said he would rather die than continue to be held at the detention facility.

One year later, the man reportedly threatened suicide, tying his bedsheets together and attaching them to his upper bunk.

“It became clear that there really were patterns of escalating cycles of uses of force against some specific individuals about whom we were really concerned. And one of those categories was folks facing mental illness.” ~Angelina Godoy, Director, UW Center for Human Rights

Godoy said detainees cannot directly call 911 from inside the detention facility and have almost no way of responding to abuse.

Altogether, the report details 70 incidents from 2015 to 2023 where force was used at the ICE facility in Tacoma. Over the last seven years, that translates to, on average, one incident of force at the facility each month, researchers said.

Researchers primarily relied on government documents, but also on Tacoma police reports, court records, and reports from the activist group La Resistencia to document the uses of force. Even so, researchers point out the records they relied on are incomplete because the agency often fails to either document the incident, or comply with public records laws. The UW Center for Human Rights has pursued litigation against the agency to obtain documents in 28 different cases.

In another incident in 2018, involving a peaceful protest, more than 100 detainees at the ICE detention center in Tacoma went on a hunger strike.

Jesus Chavez testified in court that during the strike he was punched with a closed fist, and that other hunger strikers were choked and thrown against walls. Chavez also said officials refused to take him to the hospital, even though doctors recommended it, but simply gave him painkillers.

Detainees at the ICE facility in Tacoma are there because they are waiting for the outcomes of their immigration proceedings — not because they’ve been charged with a crime.

Efforts to more closely monitor the facility, or shut it down altogether, have been challenged in court. A new law authorizes the state Department of Health to inspect the ICE facility in Tacoma on a regular basis, but GEO Group — the private prison company that runs the facility — promptly sued the state over the legislation.

Godoy pointed to a previous report by the UW Center for Human Rights that showed the ICE detention center in Tacoma keeps detainees in solitary confinement longer than any other ICE facility in the country.

When someone is charged with a crime, they may be incarcerated regardless of their innocence.  If they cannot afford the bond, they have to sit in jail until their case is resolved. Unfortunately, it is irrelevant whether or not the person actually committed the crime at this point. They will languish in jail for at least as long as it takes for their case to be resolved.  This can take months, and in some cases over a year.

Please review my legal guide Making Bail and contact my office if you, a friend or family member are incarcerated pending charges. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

U.S. Supreme Court Revives Biden’s Regulation of ‘Ghost Guns’

Editorial: Ready, aim, regulate: The Supreme Court makes the right call on ghost guns, for now | Guest Column |

The Supreme Court temporarily revived the Biden administration’s regulation of “ghost guns” — kits that can be bought online and assembled into untraceable homemade firearms.

The number of ghost guns recovered by law enforcement in the US has increased at an alarming rate—rising 398% from 2016 to 2020. Nearly 24,000 ghost guns were recovered across the country during that five-year period. President Biden’s administration officials said such weapons had soared in popularity in recent years, particularly among criminals barred from buying ordinary guns.


Ghost guns are do-it-yourself, homemade guns, produced with simple building blocks available online. In May 2021, the federal government proposed a rule that would finally clarify that these parts qualify as traditional firearms, and must be sold with serial numbers and background checks. Several states – including Washington State – have also acted, including with requirements that all ghost guns must be reported to officials. The strongest laws also regulate the spread of guns that can be made with 3-D printers.


The court’s brief order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices act on emergency applications. The order was provisional, leaving the regulation in place while a challenge moves forward in the courts.


The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining the court’s three liberal members — Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson — to form a majority.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh noted dissents. Like the justices in the majority, they did not explain their reasoning.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Firearm Offense or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Mississippi’s Lifetime Voting Ban on Felons Held Unconstitutional

Opinion | The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement - The New York Times

Journalist Nick Robertson for The Hill reports that the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled Mississippi’s lifetime voting ban for those convicted of certain felonies is unconstitutional. This ruling overturns a 19th-century Jim Crow Law widely considered “cruel and unusual punishment.”

“In the last fifty years, a national consensus has emerged among the state legislatures against permanently disenfranchising those who have satisfied their judicially imposed sentences and thus repaid their debts to society. … Mississippi stands as an outlier among its sister states, bucking a clear national trend in our nation against permanent disenfranchisement.” ~5th Circuit Court of Appeals

The Mississippi law says anyone convicted of bribery, theft, arson, perjury, forgery, embezzlement or bigamy could never have their voting right reinstated.

The nonprofit Sentencing Project found that Mississippi has one of the country’s most strict disenfranchisement laws, impacting about 11 percent of all otherwise eligible voters. That is the highest proportion of any state.

The disenfranchisement provision “serves no legitimate penological purpose,” the opinion reads.

“By severing former offenders from the body politic forever, Section 241 ensures that they will never be fully rehabilitated, continues to punish them beyond the term their culpability requires, and serves no protective function to society.” ~5th Circuit Court of Appeals

The law was passed in 1890 as part of early Jim Crow provisions attempting to disenfranchise and limit the rights of Black residents.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also pursued the lawsuit, representing those who were disenfranchised by the law.

“Section 241 of the Mississippi Constitution lifetime disenfranchisement scheme disproportionately impacted Black Mississippians,” SPLC attorney Ahmed Soussi said in a statement. “We applaud the court for reversing this cruel and harmful practice and restoring the right to vote to tens of thousands of people who have completed their sentences.”

The case also attracted the support of legal aid nonprofits, including the Legal Defense Fund, which submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs in December.

“Section 241 is Jim Crow law, which created a deliberate and invidious scheme to disenfranchise Black people,” Legal Defense Fund attorney Patricia Okonta said in December.

The state now has the opportunity to appeal the ruling to the entire 5th Circuit or the Supreme Court.

My opinion? Excellent decision. The right to vote is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy. This is a major victory for Mississippians who have completed their sentences and deserve to participate fully in our political process. Mississippi is finally being held accountable for its sordid history of racial discrimination that has led to the disproportionate disenfranchisement of its Black citizens.

Nowadays, an estimated 4.6 million Americans are barred from voting due to a felony conviction.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Losing your right to vote is an awful consequence to be avoided. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Federal Court Strikes Hawaii Statutue Outlawing Butterfly Knives

Learning Butterfly Knife Tricks with No Experience - YouTube

In Teter v. Lopez, No. 20-15948 (August 7, 2023) the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Hawaii’s criminal statute prohibiting possession of butterfly knives violates the second amendment. The 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over federal district courts in California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.


In Hawaii, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly to manufacture, sell, transfer, transport, or possess a butterfly knife—no exceptions.

Plaintiffs Mr. Teter and Mr. Grell are law-abiding Hawaii residents who wished to purchase butterfly knives for self-defense. They sued Hawaii’s Attorney General and Sheriff Division Administrator (“Hawaii”). They sought to establish that Hawaii’s statute violates the Second Amendment.

The Plaintiffs further argued that, but for Hawaii’s law, they would purchase butterfly knives.  They owned butterfly knives before moving to Hawaii and were forced to dispose of their knives because of Hawaii’s ban on butterfly knives. The Plaintiffs’ expert witness agreed that the butterfly knife “is just a tool” that can be used offensively and defensively.


The 9th Circuit began by saying the butterfly knife, also known as the “balisong,” has a disputed origin. Some sources say it originated in France; others, the Philippines. It is anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand years old. Regardless of its origin, the butterfly knife resembles an ordinary pocketknife, a tool that has been used by Americans since the early 18th century.

“Like a pocketknife, the butterfly knife comprises a handle and a folding blade, the cutting edge of which becomes covered by the handle when closed. Unlike a pocketknife, however, the butterfly knife’s handle is split into two components. Together, these two components fully encase the blade when closed and rotate in opposite directions to open. With a few short, quick movements, an experienced user can open a butterfly knife with one hand.” ~9th Circuit Court of Appeals

The 9th Circuit also held that possession of butterfly knives is conduct covered by the plain text of the Second Amendment:

“Bladed weapons facially constitute ‘arms’ within the meaning of the Second Amendment, and contemporaneous sources confirm that at the time of the adoption of the Second Amendment, the term ‘arms’ was understood as generally extending to bladed weapons, and by necessity, butterfly knives. The Constitution therefore presumptively guarantees keeping and bearing such instruments for self-defense.” ~9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Finally, the 9th Circuit reasoned that a butterfly knife is an “arm,” and more analogous to a pocket knife than historically prohibited bladed weapons such as Bowie knives or the Arkansas toothpick. With that, the 9th Circuit concluded that Hawaii’s law banning butterfly knives violates the Second Amendment.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Blake Refund Bureau Launches to Assist with Refunds of Court Fines

Washington State Courts - News, Reports, Court Information

It will soon be easier for Washingtonians with past drug convictions to get reimbursed for fees and fines they paid under the state’s now-overturned drug law.

Washington state’s official online reimbursement center for court-ordered fines or costs paid in connection with drug possession convictions, found to be unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in State v. Blake, launched July 29, 2023.

Now accessible at, the Blake Refund Bureau was developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in collaboration with courts serving all 39 Washington state counties and 112 separate municipalities. Individuals convicted of simple drug possession, cannabis possession and paraphernalia convictions between 1971 and 2021 can now receive qualifying financial reimbursements via the Bureau’s self-guided, centralized portal.

“As partners with courts across the state, this bureau is a critical tool to ensure that individuals receive the refunds due to them in a timely and efficient manner.” ~AOC Chief Financial and Management Officer Chris Stanley

In 2021, the Washington Supreme Court found the legal statutes that criminalized drug possession were unconstitutional and void because they did not require intent, or knowledge of possession — a due process violation of both state and federal constitutions. As a result of this decision, known as State v Blake , any Blake-related convictions qualify to be vacated and removed from one’s criminal record, and any legal financial obligations (LFOs) paid as a result qualify for financial reimbursement.

To administer these reimbursements statewide, the Washington State Legislature determined a centralized bureau would be instrumental for public accessibility, and help to offset costs to courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys.

With $47 million earmarked towards possession charge vacations, sentencing adjustments, and an additional $51 million set aside for paid LFO refunds, AOC was appointed the task of developing the Blake Refund Bureau in collaboration with local courts and county clerks, public defenders, prosecutors, impacted individuals, advocacy groups and other stakeholders.

This work is unprecedented, with no related instances of a state issuing hundreds of thousands of vacations and refunds at one time. The State v Blake ruling impacts an estimated 200,000+ felony drug possession charges dating back to the 1970s and an estimated additional 125,000 misdemeanor marijuana charges eligible for vacation.

Individuals can apply online via the Blake Refund Bureau portal, or apply via mail. Applicants must have their name, case number, and proof of ID with picture prior to applying. Additionally, optional fields are available to upload further identifying information including proof of name change, divorce decree, international address, and power of attorney if filing for someone else.

Refund progress tracking, a help forum and how-to video will be available to help guide users through the online application process. To help individuals understand their rights, vacate their records and learn about qualifying LFO and 3rd party reimbursements, the Blake Refund Bureau offers resources and a free Blake hotline courtesy of Washington State Office of Public Defense.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Drug Offense ort any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Why Seahawks’ Geno Smith Won’t Be Charged For DUI Or Reckless Driving

Geno Smith to lead Seahawks in season opener on MNF

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith will not be charged in connection with his 2022 arrest on suspicion of DUI. Prosecutors also declined to charge Smith with Reckless Driving, citing insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of either offense.

Smith, 32, was arrested early on the morning of Jan. 10, 2022, hours after the Seahawks returned to Seattle from their 2021 season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. According to an arrest report, he was initially stopped for going 96 mph in a 60 mph zone and driving erratically across several lanes of traffic.

The police report also stated Smith was “agitated” during his encounter with law enforcement and had been driving 96 mph in a 60 mph zone. Smith’s blood-alcohol concentration was found to be .038, less than half of the .08 legal limit in Washington State. His THC concentration was 2.6, also well below the legal limit of 5.

The state trooper who pulled Smith over detected an odor of intoxicants and observed that he had bloodshot, watery eyes, according to the arrest report. A judge issued a search warrant for a blood draw after Smith declined to take a preliminary breath test. He was taken to a hospital where he became agitated before the blood draw, even with the Seahawks’ director of team security present to try to calm Smith down, according to the report. Restraints were used to complete the process, troopers wrote.

“In considering the filing of charges, prosecutors must consider any reasonably foreseeable defense to be raised . . . From the investigation material, prosecutors do not have evidence to rebut likely explanations for his bad driving. While we can show that Mr. Smith consumed alcohol and marijuana and that in general those two substances have a compounding effect, we do not have any evidence to show exactly what effect they had on Mr. Smith, and a reasonable doubt exists as to whether his ability to drive was affected by alcohol or marijuana.” ~King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

The prosecuting attorney’s office wrote that despite evidence that Smith was driving fast and briefly traveled out of his lane, they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was disregarding the safety of people or property on the road.

Due to a backlog with blood tests in the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, Smith’s results were not provided to King County prosecutors until this past April. The prosecutor’s office noted in its release that Smith’s samples were being stored at the crime lab in a refrigerator that failed, and that while “there is no reasonable doubt to the accuracy of the results, there would likely be litigation related to the handling of his blood samples.”

At the time of his arrest, Smith had just completed his third season as Russell Wilson‘s backup with the Seahawks. In a tweet after the arrest, Smith urged the public to withhold judgment. He later told reporters that he didn’t think anything would come of the matter.

My opinion? Many evidentiary issues were favorable on behalf of Mr. Smith. First, his blood-alcohol and THC levels were below the legal limit to charge him with DUI. Mathematically speaking, the State could not prove DUI. This evidentiary issue was exacerbated by the WSP’s delays in processing the blood test and, ultimately, their tainting/destruction of Mr. Smith’s blood evidence.

But why couldn’t the Prosecutor’s Office charge Reckless Driving? Under the WPIC Jury Instructions, a person commits the crime of reckless driving when he or she drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property or races a motor vehicle upon a public highway. Here, the Prosecutor’s office decided there was no evidence of “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

There’s question, however, as to why Mr. Smith’s excessive speed of 90+ mph down a public highway was not sufficient evidence of Reckless Driving. Under RCW 46.61.530, “Any person or persons who wilfully compare or contest relative speeds by operation of one or more motor vehicles shall be guilty of racing, which shall constitute reckless driving under RCW 46.61.500. 

Anyway, great outcome for Geno Smith. His defense attorney did well.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with DUI or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

WA Supreme Court Strikes Down Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection

Equal Justice Initiative Releases Report on Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection | Death Penalty Information Center

In State v. Rhone, the WA Supreme Court overturned a 65-year-old Black man’s conviction, nearly two decades after he alleged racial discrimination in the jury selection process for his trial.


Rhone proceeded to trial on charges of first degree robbery, unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, unlawful possession of a firearm, and bail jumping. During jury selection, the parties agreed to remove one of the two Black jurors in the 41-member pool for cause. The prosecution—using a peremptory challenge—struck the remaining Black venire juror. After the court swore in the jury, Rhone made the following statement:

“I don’t mean to be facetious or disrespectful or a burden to the Court. However, I do want a jury of my peers. And I notice that the prosecutor took away the Black, African-American, man off the jury. Also, if I can’t have—I would like to have someone that represents my culture as well as your culture. To have this the way it is . . . seems unfair to me. It’s not a jury of my peers. . . . I am an African-American Black male, 48 years old. I would like someone of culture, of color, that has—perhaps may have had to deal with improprieties and so forth, to understand what’s going on and what could be happening in this trial.” ~Theodore Rhone

The court understood Rhone’s statement as a Batson challenge, found no prima
facie case of discrimination and denied Rhone’s request for a new jury panel. The jury convicted him of all charges. Rhone received a life sentence without the possibility of parole for two of his convictions.

In 2010 Rhone appealed, arguing for a “bright-line rule” establishing a prima facie case of discrimination when “the last remaining minority member of the venire is peremptorily challenged.” Unfortunately, the Washington Supreme Court denied Rhone’s appeal at that time.

However,  in their 2017 ruling in City of Seattle v. Erickson, the WA Supreme Court affirmed the very rule Rhone wanted to establish — even calling it the “Rhone Rule.” The court’s decision now to overturn Rhone’s convictions allows him to finally benefit from that rule. Rhone now sought collateral relief based on Erickson.


Justice Susan Owens wrote the court’s opinion. She reasoned that Mr. Rhone’s unsuccessful challenge to the last remaining Black juror being struck from his venire directly resulted in him facing a jury that was undoubtedly less likely to debate and consider uncomfortable issues related to race and acknowledge and mitigate implicit biases than that of a diverse jury.

“Recalling the mandate in the unique circumstances of Rhone’s case accomplishes this mission; we must allow him to benefit from the rule he proposed that ultimately became the law in this state.” ~Justice Susan Owens

With that, the WA Supreme Court reverse Rhone’s convictions and remanded for a new trial.

My opinion? I applaud the court’s decision. When juries have diverse makeups, it allows them to draw from various lived experiences, and offer greater perspectives. Studies have shown that all-white juries spend less time deliberating, make more errors, and consider fewer perspectives. They also convict at higher rates and convict Black defendants at higher rates than other defendants specifically.

The court’s decision is the correct step toward racial justice and equity. In announcing the reversal of Rhone’s convictions, the state Supreme Court also ordered a new trial. Rhone will finally have a jury of his peers, as the law and constitution intended.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Bellingham Crime Rates – 2022 & 2023 Thus Far

Free photo: Bellingham Police (9096) - Bellingham, Bellingham Police Car, Bellingham Police Department - Free Download - Jooinn

You’ve likely heard a lot about crime recently. It’s been a major topic of campaign rhetoric and featured in a cacophony of often misleading ads. More Americans than ever now believe that crime is up in their community, according to a recent Gallup poll.

But what do crime statistics reveal for the City of Bellingham, in particular?

Out of curiosity, I researched the City of Bellingham’s crime statistics for both 2022 and 2023. Here’s what the numbers show:


Reported Incidents Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Alcohol Offenses 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 5 2 0 0
Assault (Felony) 17 12 21 14 16 9 24 12 18 18 10 9
Assault (Misdemeanor) 42 44 54 48 54 43 57 56 51 56 28 53
Auto Theft 74 62 62 47 39 32 30 40 36 27 32 22
Burglary (Residential) 78 57 89 70 64 49 52 68 59 58 60 51
Crimes Against Person 19 19 18 17 16 22 22 19 11 19 10 11
Crimes Against Property 48 42 46 38 44 47 51 37 39 38 41 27
Domestic Violence 62 67 58 84 58 60 74 76 69 64 73 55
Drug Offenses 9 7 7 15 18 13 35 24 22 20 17 19
DUI 10 17 15 17 14 22 22 19 35 23 20 19
Homicide 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Malicious Mischief 80 86 194 152 139 263 294 415 285 298 311 258
Public Order Maintenance 321 278 345 247 297 351 287 274 262 306 258 316
Robbery 16 16 9 10 12 11 17 8 7 14 5 5
Service Calls 472 365 466 430 512 504 514 500 438 367 456 407
Sex Crime Reports 4 5 10 5 6 5 11 10 6 10 8 11
Theft 318 293 336 296 296 275 268 285 243 242 259 185
Traffic Accidents 53 40 58 55 45 54 39 53 42 79 63 24
Traffic Offenses/Complain 154 158 141 116 114 100 113 89 159 143 121 88
Vehicle Prowls 197 184 226 194 200 105 122 127 87 126 90 62
All Others 196 144 169 119 149 155 184 143 145 175 146 114
Calls – Non-reportable 4247 4051 4631 4348 4930 5281 5496 5267 5017 4838 4003 4194
Totals 6417 5948 6955 6322 7024 7401 7714 7525 7036 6925 6011 5930



Reported Incidents Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Alcohol Offenses 3 0 1 0 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0
Assault (Felony) 5 14 12 10 14 15 16 0 0 0 0 0
Assault (Misdemeanor) 52 35 33 42 53 39 59 0 0 0 0 0
Auto Theft 28 22 24 15 24 28 21 0 0 0 0 0
Burglary (Residential) 55 34 52 58 58 60 32 0 0 0 0 0
Crimes Against Person 16 11 22 18 27 24 20 0 0 0 0 0
Crimes Against Property 41 30 30 27 21 33 21 0 0 0 0 0
Domestic Violence 69 49 61 76 66 74 78 0 0 0 0 0
Drug Offenses 27 32 24 19 29 29 26 0 0 0 0 0
DUI 29 21 33 27 39 30 36 0 0 0 0 0
Homicide 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Malicious Mischief 322 375 365 295 192 106 50 0 0 0 0 0
Public Order Maintenance 314 273 260 328 299 317 256 0 0 0 0 0
Robbery 12 10 10 5 11 9 5 0 0 0 0 0
Service Calls 480 412 462 395 446 513 417 0 0 0 0 0
Sex Crime Reports 6 6 5 5 4 9 4 0 0 0 0 0
Theft 234 219 218 226 251 196 177 0 0 0 0 0
Traffic Accidents 13 10 15 17 8 26 7 0 0 0 0 0
Traffic Offenses/Complain 91 77 93 85 85 66 47 0 0 0 0 0
Vehicle Prowls 57 52 52 59 59 44 27 0 0 0 0 0
All Others 167 143 154 134 146 143 90 0 0 0 0 0
Calls – Non-reportable 4431 3947 4858 4697 5186 4964 4720 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 6452 5772 6786 6538 7023 6728 6110 0 0 0 0 0

The numbers are interesting. Without diving too deeply into sub-categories, it appears that crime is trending down. In 2022, the City of Bellingham had 47,781 reported incidents of crime from January – July. In 2023, the City of Bellingham has 45,409 total reported incidents of crime from January – July.

The take-away? Bellingham, WA is a relatively safe city compared to the national average. According to, violent crime in Bellingham is 18.8 which is significantly lower than the US average of 22.7. Similarly, property crime rate in Bellingham is 71.5 which is more than twice as low as the US average of 35.4. Therefore, it can be concluded that Bellingham is an overall safer area than most places in the United States.

It’d be interesting to know what criminal charges were reduced, dismissed, acquitted or found guilty.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

How To Handle False Allegations of Sexual Assault

What Is A Malicious Allegation

I’ve successfully obtained dismissals, reductions or jury acquittals on a large number of sexual assault cases in my career. These cases are inherently challenging. They require an immense amount of time, work, energy, investigations and pre-trial litigation. Those suspected of false allegations must have situational awareness of the threats, risks and criminal exposure that these false allegations carry. In this blog, I’ll discuss how best to handle false claims of sexual assault so that you can move forward in a positive trajectory without fear or shame.

False accusations of sexual assault are harrowing, traumatic and frightening. They can have long-lasting effects on your life, even if the allegation is found to be untrue. When handling false allegations of sexual assault, it’s important to remain calm and take steps to protect yourself from further harm.


Your first step after being accused of sexual assault should be to contact a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling sexual assault cases. A criminal defense lawyer can advise you on protecting your legal interests and help guide you through handling false accusations. This could include reaching out to law enforcement or the prosecutor’s office in an effort to avoid charges being filed.

Defense attorneys can challenge eyewitness accounts by showing inconsistencies. They can also seek to suppress identification evidence gathered improperly. They can advise you on gathering evidence that could prove your innocence, such as medical records or witness statements. In addition, they will be able to explain what legal processes are involved in handling sexual assault allegations, such as how to handle any required court appearances.

In Washington State, numerous defenses exist to fight back against these charges. Some of these defenses are as follows:

  • Alibi
  • Consent
  • Duress
  • Entrapment
  • Insanity
  • Reasonable Defense of Victim’s Age

Undoubtedly, your defense begins with contacting a criminal defense attorney.


Our friends in law enforcement are placed in very difficult positions when investigating sexual assault charges. They did not witness the events take place. However, they are contacted by the alleged victim, medical professionals and/or sexual assault advocates to proactively investigate these serious criminal charges and incarcerate suspects when necessary or possible.

Know this: police are not your friend, ally, mediator or protector in these situations. On the contrary, police are doing their best to gather as much evidence as possible in support of the pending sexual assault charges.

Therefore, sexual assault suspects should not talk to police unless they have their lawyer present. Some suspects think that they can clear their name by cooperating completely with a police investigation. In many cases, however, they end up giving law enforcement valuable evidence that incriminates them. Typically, a suspect’s voluntary statements to police are admissible at trial. These voluntary statements make it extremely difficult to defend against a sexual assault charge once it is filed.

By not talking to police, suspects force police to build their own case. It also eliminates the possibility that the suspect will say something that inadvertently or coincidentally incriminates them.


Sexual assault suspects should not talk with others who were involved in the incident. This includes the alleged victim and any witnesses. There is very little to be gained by discussing the incident with anyone. Worse, there is a significant risk of saying something that is incriminating. Chances are high that police will interview everyone involved. A poorly-phrased comment can quickly become evidence against the defendant. Additionally, intimidating or tampering with a victim or witness is a crime.


It is essential to keep track of all correspondence related to the case. This includes saving  emails, text messages and letters from police officers, lawyers, prosecutors, and witnesses. This documentation can be used later as evidence in your defense if needed. You should also keep track of any legal advice that you receive from your defense attorney. This information can be used to refute false claims or statements.


If possible, it’s crucial to gather evidence and witnesses who can attest to your innocence. This may include text messages, emails, video evidence, or other documents showing that the incident never occurred or that a witness is not being truthful. You should also speak with anyone who witnessed the alleged incident or who can provide a character reference for you. A criminal defense attorney can greatly assist in collecting this evidence, and so it is best to consult with an attorney before you begin this process.


It is important to seek emotional support during this difficult time. Speak with friends and family about what is going on and ask them for their help. Consider speaking with a therapist or counselor who can provide additional emotional guidance.

False accusations of sexual assault can be challenging to handle, but remember that you are not alone. By following the steps outlined above, you can protect yourself and your legal interests while handling false claims of sexual assault. With the right help and support, you will come out of this experience stronger and more resilient than ever.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a sex offense. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.