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Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

WA Legal Roundup: Division III


State v. Scott

Scott appeals the trial court’s decision to admit evidence of his gang affiliation at his trial for charges of first degree assault.  Scott was an outstanding citizen: meth dealer and member of a notorious gang.  Scott came to the rescue when one of his associates was having trouble obtaining his property (gun and cash) from his ex-girlfriend Wendy.  Scott and another man broke into the Wendy’s home, recovered the property (with a little interest in the way of taking other property) and proceeded to beat Wendy’s current boyfriend within an inch of his life.  Scott broke a full bottle of beer over the victim’s head and then proceeded to stab him several times with the broken bottle. 

The State successfully convinced the trial judge that evidence of Scott’s gang affiliation should be admitted.  Gang affiliation is protected by our First Amendment right of association.  Gang affiliation is only admissible if there is a nexus between the crime and gang membership.  Dawson v. Delaware, 503 U.S. 159, 112 S. Ct. 1093, 117 L. Ed. 2d. 309 (1992).  The State intended to show that Scott’s motive in the attack was because Wendy had shown the gang disrespect.  However, there was no evidence submitted during the trial to indicate that this was Scott’s motive.  The State’s gang expert didn’t even talk about “disrespect” in gang culture or make a nexus between the attack and gang membership.

Washington courts also require a nexus between the crime and the gang affiliation before such evidence is admitted.  State v. Campbell, 78 Wn. App. 813, 901 P.2d 1050, review denied, 128 Wn.2d 1004 (1995).  Division III found that the evidence fell short of showing any nexus between Scott’s motive and his gang affiliation.  The State’s expert testimony failed to provide this nexus.  Without this nexus the jury was left to infer that the gang affiliation evidence just showed that Scott was a bad person (he really wasn’t).  This violates ER 404(b).  Convictions reversed and the case remanded for a new trial.  I’m betting the State’s expert testimony will make the connection next time.

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