Category Archives: Uncategorized

Seattle Implements “Police Ruse” Policy

Lies We Tell Ourselves: How Deception Leads to Self-Deception - Scientific American

In a press release, the City of Seattle announced the implementation of the nation’s first policy governing the use of police patrol ruses.

Mayor Bruce Harrell directed the SPD to develop the new policy. It comes a few years after a Seattle officer’s ruse contributed to the suicide of a hit-and-run driver in 2018. Another controversial ruse was when officers created fake radio traffic to try and get protesters away from the CHAZ/CHOP zone in 2020. Those cases undermined the public’s trust and confidence in police, according to the SPD.

“Effective public safety requires community buy-in, and this new policy is an important step to build understanding with the public, demonstrating that for SPD operations to be successful, they must be paired with a commitment to unbiased, constitutional policing . . .This innovative new policy will lead to better police work thanks to the voices of many, including the media who brought attention to this tactic, community members who called for guidelines to match our values, and Seattle accountability and police leaders who developed a plan to make that vision real.” ~Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell


The Ruse Policy recognizes that while this tactic may be necessary in specific situations to support public safety, the need and conditions for its use should be strongly and clearly defined. The new ruse policy sets substantial guardrails around the use of ruses, limiting the use by patrol officers to these five scenarios:

  • De-escalation,
  • To calm or provide comfort to a person,
  • To promote the safety of any person,
  • Scene management, or
  • To bring potentially violent situations to a peaceful resolution.

Additionally, patrol ruses may not be broadcast over radio, social media or any other mass media format, the new policy states. No patrol ruse may involve officers making or implying promises regarding prosecution or filing decisions, and patrol ruses that shock the conscience will not be used.

The policy defines appropriate uses of ruses for de-escalation and investigation, while also creating clear accountability through requirements for documentation, supervisor approval, and protections for juveniles. The policy prohibits ruses broadcast via mass media or false promises regarding prosecution, as well those that plainly “shock the conscience.”

“The Seattle Police department engaged in an in-depth review on the use of ruses, facilitated by the Office of the Inspector General. This first-in-nation policy balances the legitimate use of deception, especially for de-escalation and the safety of all persons, with supervision, documentation, and clear prohibition of ruses that compromise public trust.” ~Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz.

The policy will continue to be evaluated and refined based on the now required documentation and new data. The policy also provides an objective standard by which officers’ conduct can be evaluated, creating a framework to hold them accountable when violations occur.

My opinion? Seattle’s Ruse Policy is indeed a novel step in the right direction. Even better, it should only be applied under limited circumstances.

However, intriguing legal issues arise. Can a criminal charge be dismissed if the defendant reasonably relied on a ruse from a police officer? In other words, but for the ruse, would a crime have been allegedly committed? If so, then a defendant’s reliance on a ruse can be Entrapment.

Under Washington law, Entrapment is a defense to criminal charges if the criminal design originated in the mind of police and the defendant was lured or induced to commit a crime that the defendant had not otherwise intended to commit.

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.

Local Veteran Defense Attorney on Whatcom County’s Need for a New Jail

Haunting photos capture crumbling remains and execution chamber at prison  used to film The Green Mile - World News - Mirror Online

Excellent editorial by Stark Follis, the Director of the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office, on why Whatcom County needs a new jail.

“I have worked as a criminal defense attorney in Northwest Washington for 37 years. I do not support mass incarceration nor do I support an ever-increasing criminal justice burden to the county as numbers continue to increase. I do support a new jail and I trust the decision makers in place to build a jail that addresses the foregoing concerns, taking positive steps to address the root causes of criminal behavior and make a facility that treats those incarcerated in a humane manner.” ~Stark Follis, the Director of the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office

For starters, Whatcom County voters will be asked to approve funding for the planning and construction of a new jail.  This will appear on the General Election Ballot in November. Twice before, voters have rejected the funding for a new jail, but never has the plan had the widespread support of cities and towns, including the elected officials representing them.

Follis says that opponents of new jail construction are generally concerned with playing into the idea of supporting mass incarceration. “U.S. incarceration rates are higher than anywhere in the world and the state of Washington and Whatcom County are no exception.”

In his editorial, Follis laments that many of those that we have incarcerated, and continue to incarcerate, do not belong there. Low-level offenses and crimes of poverty and homelessness are symptomatic of our society’s ills. However, there are people within the jail who represent a danger to the community. They must be either treated or helped or must be segregated from society. The fact is that only a small number will be segregated from society for lengthy periods and mostly on only the most serious of offenses. Most will be released and we need a jail facility that will allow us to address particular issues to lessen the safety concern upon release.

The difficulty comes when those presenting a substantial threat to community safety and security do so because of behavioral health issues. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of people arrested with severe mental health problems. Drug use and addiction is more rampant today than ever. Scores of people in our community are unhoused and living a lifestyle that could not have been imagined to us years ago, but is now commonplace.

“Insufficient resources are available to those with mental health disorders. Those deemed not competent to stand trial face long waits for treatment at state hospitals and many of those face a lockdown existence in the current jail that allows them out of a cell for one hour a day.” ~Stark Follis, the Director of the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office

Follis also says that deprivation of human contact has long been recognized as inhumane, and in some cases has been found to be unconstitutional as it violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of Cruel and Unusual Punishment. The current jail leaves jail administrators with few options around this practice based on the configuration of the jail and staffing shortages that result.

Further, there are no facilities within the current jail to treat those with mental health disorders. There is a jail medical facility that is small and inadequate for sufficient treatment including counseling, medication or even diagnosis. When those come into the jail with mental health disorders, it is common for them to deteriorate while in there — the exact opposite of what we need to try to accomplish to make society safe.

There are no facilities for treatment of those with substance abuse disorders. While the current jail is mandated to provide medical assistance to those withdrawing from addiction, there is no ability to provide ongoing counseling or treatment such as opiate blockers or even things as basic as NA/AA programs.

“In general, conditions in the jail are poor for those who find themselves incarcerated. We need a jail, but we need a jail that does not just punish people by throwing away the key. We do not need a jail that treats people in a cruel and unusual manner. We need a jail that will triage those that come in and will divert them to the services they need.” ~Stark Follis, the Director of the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office

My opinion? This was an excellent and informative critique by Starck Follis. I agree with every word he said.  Clearly, the Whatcom County Jail is no place to wait out a pending criminal charge. Please review my Legal Guide “Making Bail” and contact my office if you, a friend or family member are incarcerated. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

It’s Time To Apply New & Better Standards for Public Defense Workloads

The State Of Public Defenders Workload: Can AI Fix The People Gap?

With publication of a milestone national study 50 years in the making, the Council on Public Defense (CPD) is immediately beginning to examine how the new research about public-defense caseloads should be applied to Washington’s criminal courts.

“The accused are entitled to an effective advocate and that means a lawyer with time and resources to help. This study underlines what public defenders are experiencing every day, which is a staggering increase in the number and complexity of cases, especially compared to 50 years ago when the national standards were first written. The CPD understands that overworked public defenders impact legal outcomes for the accused and the fairness of the criminal legal system. The CPD has already begun the work of adapting this study to Washington law.” ~Jason Schwarz, Esq., CPD Chair and Director of the Snohomish County Office of Public Defense.

The CPD is a committee of the Washington State Bar Association, established in 2004 to address challenges that impact the state’s public defense system. The Washington Supreme Court tasks the state bar, through the CPD, to make recommendations regarding public defense caseloads and performance guidelines. The Court puts those recommendations into practice in courts via Superior Court Criminal Rule (CrR) 3.1 (Standards for Indigent Defense).

Since its inception, the CPD has regularly recommended updates to CrR 3.1, but the underlying standards are based on a 1973 study from the National Advisory Commission. The new study is the product of a partnership among the Rand Corporation, the National Center for State Courts, and the American Bar Association; it was released on Sept. 12 with comprehensive research that suggests public defenders are working far too many cases and their cases continue to grow more complex. These standards are not binding on any jurisdiction but act as a model.

“The state bar is uniquely situated to convene stakeholders in the legal community to make sure our court rules support actual justice. The Council on Public Defense exemplifies that work and oversees a process that is critically important: Fleshing out standards that will support the state’s constitutional obligation to provide ‘adequate’ legal counsel to anyone facing a criminal charge. What we are talking about here is how long a person might have to wait to get their day in court, and the quality of their defense. Those are among the foundations of criminal justice.” ~Washington State Bar Association President Hunter Abell.

The CPD expects to shepherd the new model standards to present a recommendation for rule changes to the Washington Supreme Court for consideration and adoption. The CPD aims to have draft recommendations by the end of the year.

CPD has been raising the flag about excessive defender workloads for years, and the new study comes amid a flurry of state and national events highlighting the problem:

My opinion? This is excellent and refreshing news. Public defenders have been eagerly waiting for these new standards—for more than 50 years, in fact. The CPD is eager to get to work to bring them to bear in Washington courts. While public defenders are some of the most committed, compassionate, and passionate lawyers, excessive workloads have resulted in burnout and the loss of great advocates and colleagues. Applying this study to the Washington legal landscape will assist us in assuring that assigned counsel have the time to advocate for accused.

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.

Labor Day DUI Patrols In Effect

420 Facelift" planned for WSP Mobile Impaired Driving Unit | Regional |

The Washington State Patrol reports that with Labor Day Weekend, Troopers will be out patrolling both day and night looking for impaired drivers. According to a survey by the Vacationer, more than 57 percent of Americans will be traveling this weekend. King 5 reports that as of yesterday, the WSP has responded to 70 crashes and 16 calls reporting aggressive driving.

WSP and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently reported that 2023 is shaping up to be a “historically deadly” year on Washington roadways.

Over Labor Day weekend in 2022, state troopers responded to a number of dangerous incidents in King County. They included 21 DUI arrests, 448 speeding incidents and 118 collisions, with two fatal collisions. The agency also responded to 232 reports of aggressive driving and 60 incidents of distracted driving.

Officials note the “fatal four” common causes of traffic crashes and deaths as impairment, distraction, speeding and not wearing seat belts. Approximately 75% of last year’s deaths involved one of more of the fatal four behaviors.


The Mobile Impaired Driving Unit (MIDU) will be deployed to process suspected DUI offenders and enable patrols to spend as much time as possible on the roadways. The MIDU is a self-contained 36-foot motorhome that has been turned into a mobile DUI processing center and incident command post. When requested, the MIDU travels across the state in support of law enforcement efforts during DUI emphasis patrols or to emergency incidents such as wild land fires or other natural disasters. It’s a full service police station on wheels.

My opinion? Drive with patience and courtesy and expect more traffic throughout the weekend. And please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with DUI, Reckless Driving or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Broad Coalition Launches to Restore the Constitutional Right to Trial

The Trial Penalty - Prison Professors

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) reports that numerous organizations have united to end the trial penalty. This coalition, called End the Trial Penalty, consists of twenty-four criminal justice organizations, impacted people, think tanks, academics, activists, and reform leaders from across the ideological spectrum have united to end the trial penalty.

What is a “Trial Penalty?”

A “trial penalty” refers to the substantial difference between the sentence offered in a plea offer prior to trial versus the sentence a defendant receives after trial. This penalty is now so severe and pervasive that it has virtually eliminated the constitutional right to a trial. To avoid the penalty, accused persons must surrender many other fundamental rights which are essential to a fair justice system.

The coercive and punitive effects of the trial penalty are so pervasive that they have virtually eliminated our constitutional right to trial. In fact, over 97% of cases ending in a conviction never go to trial, leading to a range of issues reverberating through our legal system, including the waiver of numerous constitutional freedoms and rights, overcriminalization, loss of public oversight, and racial injustice.

Fortunately, the End the Trial Penalty Coalition aims to restore the right to trial, helping right these wrongs to ensure a fair, rational, and humane criminal legal system.

Members of this new Coalition will work together to raise awareness of the adverse effects of a justice system without trials, advocate policy reform, and forge relationships with key policymakers. The Coalition will also serve as a resource for people interested in participating in an impactful criminal legal reform movement.

The Coalition has published a comprehensive Policy Overview which includes policy ideas to combat coercive practices in the plea bargaining process, to improve data collection and transparency, and to foster post-trial reform and accountability measures.

The Coalition plans to further partner with impacted people and their families, community leaders, criminal legal system stakeholders, and local organizers to ensure everyone has a seat at the table in the efforts to restore justice to our legal system.

About End the Trial Penalty

End the Trial Penalty is an ideologically diverse coalition of criminal justice organizations and leaders committed to ending the trial penalty to ensure a fair, rational, and humane criminal legal system. The coalition aims to eliminate the coercive elements of plea bargaining to restore our fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to a jury trial.

My opinion?

The Sixth Amendment enshrines the right to trial for anyone accused of a crime. Yet, in America today, less than 3% of criminal cases ever make it to trial. Many factors drive that statistic, including the trial penalty. Defendants are confronted with an impossible choice: either fighting for their innocence but often risking decades in prison or admitting to something they didn’t do but salvaging their family and future. It’s no wonder that innocent people can and do plead guilty.

I’m pleased that organizations like End the Trial Penalty exists to uphold our constitutional right to trial. 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 Retail Stores Beef Up Security in Response to Rising Crime

Gold fever sweeps the criminal underworld

Excellent article in the Cascadia Weekly by Ralph Schwartz describes how Bellingham retail stores are increasing security in response to rising crime.

Thefts in Bellingham’s downtown core peaked in March 2022, according to the city’s crime statistics webpage. Apparently, this is part of a broader citywide crime wave that hit Bellingham in the latter stages of the COVID-19 pandemic for a variety of reasons.

Among them was overcrowding at the jail, which prompted the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office to stop booking nonviolent offenders.  The police department was short on officers. Finally, new state laws made it more difficult for police to engage with suspected criminals.

Bellingham’s Meridian neighborhood also reported thefts peaked in the summer of 2022. This neighborhood includes Bellis Fair mall and major retails such as Home Depot and Walmart. The neighborhood averaged four reported thefts a day in June through August of last year.

The shoplifting problem isn’t limited to Bellingham. Nationally, retail theft was growing before the pandemic, reaching $68.9 billion in stolen goods in 2019, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association. A more recent survey by the National Retail Federation reported that overall shrinkage, which includes theft, damaged goods and other losses, reached $94.5 billion in 2021, up 4% compared to 2020, with much of that attributed to a rise in organized crime.

According to the article, large-scale retailers like Home Depot have armed their security guards. This comes in response to Organized Retail Theft operations originating from a nearby Homeless encampment.

“Organized retail crime is an ongoing issue, and it has been on the rise over the last several years for many retailers . . . We have a multitude of initiatives in place to mitigate, including human and technology resources, to make theft in our stores more difficult; close partnerships with law enforcement; and significant efforts working with federal and state task forces to fight this problem.” ~Evelyn Fornes, Senior manager of communications and advocacy for The Home Depot

Washington also has the second highest per capita rate of retail theft of any state in the country after Pennsylvania. In 2021, 23,323 cases of shoplifting were reported in Washington state. Seattle also ranked eighth among large cities for retail crime in 2021.

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

Why Retail Is Focused on Organized Crime

Retail theft ring: $2M in merchandise recovered, 3 arrested, Wilmette police say - ABC7 Chicago

Great article by journalist Eric Rosenbaum discusses why large retail stores see an increase in Organized Retail Theft.


“The country has a retail theft problem,” Home Depot CFO Richard McPhail said on a call with CNBC on Tuesday after its earnings. “We’re confident in our ability to mitigate and blunt that pressure, but that pressure certainly exists out there.” Home Depot’s vice president of asset protection had told CNBC in March crime is increasing at double-digit rates.

According to the article, Target said organized retail crime will reach $500 million more in stolen and lost merchandise this year compared with a year ago. On its earnings call, Target CEO Brian Cornell said retail theft is “a worsening trend that emerged last year.” Retailers are convinced the crime trend is rising. Complicting matters, the trend is not simply a shoplifting issue reflecting tougher economic times for Americans. The trends show an increasin in the work of organized retail crime networks.


The National Retail Federation says Organized Retail Crime is the main reason for retail “shrink.” This is defined as a mismatch between actual inventory and what is on the books — which reached $94.5 billion in 2021, an increase of almost $4 billion year over year.

Its president Matt Shay told CNBC on Thursday that the issue isn’t going away. “Conversations we’ve had with members over the last several years indicate it is getting to be a really acute and serious problem,” and as far as the annual numbers, remains “growing.” While theft is “manifesting itself in stores with acts of violence,” Shay stressed that in-store, individual crime is not the biggest scope of the problem. It’s not people shoplifting an individual item for personal use.

These days, shoplifting is a big part of organized crime. Target chief financial officer Michael Fiddelke had said after its earnings in November 2022 that shoplifting jumped about 50% year over and year, resulting in over $400 million in losses in the fiscal year, and Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon issued another warning about the rising threat on CNBC in December.

“This is very sophisticated local, state, national and transnational organizations, organized not just to steal at the store level, but throughout the entire supply chain … on the docks, on trucks, off ships, through containers, on the railways. This is a really persistent problem and it’s across the supply chain,” ~Matt Shay, President of National Retail Federation.


That matches CargoNet data recently provided to CNBC by insurance company Travelers, which has a special investigations group and works with law enforcement to recover stolen goods. It found food and beverage coming into port or in a warehouse is No. 1 on the list of products being targeted by freight thieves who are increasing their criminal activity across the national supply chain, with household goods and electronics still high on the list of cargo thieves.

Physical theft is still the No. 1 method used by thieves in the supply chain, but they are getting more sophisticated, creating fictitious pickups through use of identity theft — pretending to be trucking companies, including infiltrating online freight management systems and freight brokerage phone lines.

“A lot of times, they will get away with it,” Scott Cornell, transportation lead and crime and theft specialist at insurance provider Travelers, recently told CNBC. It has tracked a 600% increase in this form of cargo crime.

Cargo theft is occurring at multiple points in an item’s journey, with the NRF finding that theft “en route from distribution centers to stores” was the top target, at 47.4%; followed by cargo theft at stores, at 42.1%, and cargo “en route from manufacturers to distribution centers,” at 35.1%.


The National Retail Federation is lobbying for the Combatting Organized Retail Crime Act, which would create a function within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to elevate the theft issue to a national issue. It would also allow the DHS to coordinate with law enforcement across the country, provide resources, and report to Congress.

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

WA State Patrol Uses Helicopters to Pursue Fleeing Suspects

Helicopter closely chases a race car in this insane stunt - Vidéo Dailymotion

Nowadays, the WA State Patrol shall deploy “aviation tactics” to respond to increased incidents of street racing.

“WSP along with other law enforcement agencies has experienced an increase in the number of vehicles fleeing attempted traffic stops yet it is imperative this criminal behavior is addressed in the safest manner possible to hold these individuals accountable.  The WSP is addressing this issue with the invaluable assistance of the Aviation Section.” ~Press Release, WA State Patrol

Apparently, four recent incidents occurred where arrests were made using a helicopter.  The pilot guided ground units to suspect vehicles.

Incident #1 – WSP aircraft observed a vehicle traveling SB SR 167 in Auburn at 97mph and passing on the shoulder.  They followed the vehicle as it exited the freeway and at one point in time seemed to be racing other vehicles.  The vehicle ended up in a drive thru and when it exited troopers were able to arrest the driver.  Numerous charges to include suspicion of DUI!

Incident #2 – This incident is where a vehicle was doing doughnuts in front of a trooper in Kent.  The vehicle fled an attempted traffic stop and was followed by the aircraft.  After the aircraft followed the vehicle all over the South Center area the ground units were led to where the vehicle parked near a warehouse and the driver was taken into custody.

Incident #3 – The aircraft spotted a vehicle NB 167 traveling at 107mph heading to what was believed to be a racer meetup. The vehicle fled an attempted traffic stop by a trooper and was followed by the aircraft where speeds reached 118mph. The vehicle was followed all over the South Center area until it reached a meetup where a number of vehicles were blocking the road.  The vehicle was trapped by the other vehicles and troopers were able to make an arrest!

Incident #4 – A trooper followed several street racers and attempted to stop one for speeding.  The vehicle fled into east Auburn into a residential area and entered a home.  Troopers arrived at the residence and were able to talk the driver and passenger out of the house.  The trooper in the aircraft was able to ID the driver by the hoodie they were wearing and a lanyard hanging out of their pocket.  The driver was subsequently arrested.


Street racing is typically an unsanctioned and illegal form of auto racing that occurs on a public road. Racing in the streets is considered hazardous.  Street racing can either be spontaneous or well planned and coordinated. Well-coordinated races are planned in advance and often have people communicating via two-way radios or citizens’ band radio. Participants use  police scanners and GPS units to mark locations where local police are more prevalent.

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

Hotel Room Hosts Can’t Consent To Police Searching Other Guest’s Bags

Single-use plastic bags will be banned in Colorado by 2024 with bag fees set to start in 2023 under new law

In State v. Giberson, No. 56081-0-II (April 4, 2023), the WA Court of Appeals held that the host of a hotel room lacks authority allowing police to search a guest’s grocery bags located inside the room.  A person has a reasonable privacy interest in grocery bags, which are are “traditional repositories of personal belongings.”


In May of 2020, police received a tip from a confidential informant that Mr. Giberson planned a drug deal at a nearby motel. Police journeyed to the motel. They conducted surveillance of room #106. Police contacted a person named Mr. Goedker after Goedker departed room #106.

Goedker stated that he was the sole occupant of motel room #106. He said he had been residing there for approximately 10 days. He stated that the defendant Mr. Giberson had stopped by earlier that day. Giberson and a person named Ms. Hopkins remained in the room. Goedker said that there were bags in the motel room belonging to Giberson.

Police opened the door to Room #106. They saw Giberson and an associate sitting at a table. Both Giberson and the associate were detained and removed from the room.

The detectives then searched two plastic grocery bags on the floor next to the door. Inside one of the grocery bags they found a digital scale and two baggies containing heroin.  After searching the bags, police asked Goedker if they belonged to him. Goedker denied ownership and stated that the bags belonged to Giberson.

The State charged Giberson with possession of heroin with the intent to deliver. Before trial, Giberson moved to suppress the evidence found in the warrantless search of the plastic grocery bags. The trial court denied the suppression motion. It reasoned that Gibson lacked standing to challenge the search of his bags. Ultimately, the court also found Giberson guilty as charged. Giberson appealed his conviction. He argued that the search of his grocery bags was unlawful because Goedker could not give consent to search his possessions.


First, the Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether Giberson had standing to challenge the search of his bags.

“A defendant has automatic standing under article I, section 7 of the Washington State Constitution to challenge a search when (1) possession is an essential element of the charged offense and (2) the defendant was in possession of the item searched at the time of the challenged search,” said the Court. Here, Giberson has automatic standing to challenge the search. Consequently, the trial court erred in concluding that Giberson did not have standing.

Next, the Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether the search of Gibson’s bags was lawful.

The Court reasoned that warrantless searches are unlawful under the Washington Constitution and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Valid consent is an exception allowing for a warrantless search. However, consent to search an area does not necessarily provide authorization to search belongings of a third person inside the area. Here, Goedker did not own, possess, or control Giberson’s grocery bags. Therefore, Goedker did not have authority to consent to the search of Giberson’s bags.

The Court of Appeals further reasoned that a search is unconstitutional if the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the item searched.  Here, Giberson clearly sought to preserve as private the drugs and digital scale by placing them in his grocery bag. The Court addressed whether Giberson had a privacy interest in storing his belongngs in plastic bags:

“Grocery bags can be characterized as ‘traditional repositories of personal belongings.” People certainly put personal grocery items and other personal items obtained in a grocery store like prescription medications in such bags. And common experience tells us that people also use grocery bags to carry other personal items. For example, this may be true for people such as those experiencing homelessness who may not have space for their personal items. Giberson reasonably could expect that others would not search his grocery bags without his consent. Therefore, we conclude that Giberson had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his grocery bags.” ~WA Court of Appeals.

With that, the Court of Appeals concluded that Goedker’s authority to give consent to search his hotel room did not extend to the search of Giberson’s grocery bags. Furthermore, Giberson had a reasonable expectation of privacy in those bags. Therefore, the trial court erred in failing to suppress the heroin and digital scale found in the search of the grocery bags. Giberson’s conviction was reversed.

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

Washington State Patrol Sees Increase in Drive-By Shootings

Phoenix, Arizona Drive By Shooting Defense Lawyers - Gaxiola & Litwak

Journalist reports in that an alarming trend of Drive-By Shootings are unfolding on our freeways.

So far in 2023, Washington State Patrol responded to 12 drive by shootings in King County, with six cases in the month of March. There were three drive by shootings the week of March 19 alone. One of them happened Sunday on State Route 520. A driver was hospitalized after a bullet when through his backseat. WSP troopers said there are more cases of road rage where aggressive drivers are pulling the trigger behind the wheel.

“People seem to lose their temper quite easily,” said  with WSP Pierce and Thurston counties. “It’s definitely very concerning for all of us to see how lightly people seem to just brandish handguns and just fire shots at other people out in traffic.” ~WA State Patrol Trooper Robert Reyer

Reyer said the shootings are happening outside of King County as well. WSP is looking for the suspect from a drive by Monday in Fife on I-5 southbound near the 54th Avenue East ramp. The suspected car was a teal-colored BMW older model SUV with no license plates. Reyer said the gunman shot once, barely missing the other driver in a pickup truck who was too startled to get details of the suspected car.

“When somebody gets involved in a situation like that where they get shot at, the last thing that they think of in that moment is to grab their cellphone and take a photo or video of that vehicle,” said Reyer.

Troopers asked the public to help be their eyes and ears so investigators could track down the dangerous drivers.

Signs of aggressive driving include high speeds, cutting drivers off, slamming the brakes and of course brandishing a gun. To anyone who sees this behavior, WSP said don’t interact, just call 911 before things escalate. Get as many descriptive details as safely as possible of the suspect car and driver and report it to the authorities.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged Reckless Driving, Drive-By Shooting or any other crime. Self-Defense might be a viable defense if you responded to another driver’s road rage. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.