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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP

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. Fry

Mr. Fry punched his wife in the face and was charged with Second Degree Assault.  The trial court instructed the jury on Second Degree Assault and the lesser-included offense of Third Degree Assault.  The court listed the elements of Third Degree Assault as follows: 

1) Mr. Fry caused Ms. Fry bodily harm; (2) "the bodily harm was accompanied by substantial pain that extended for a period of time sufficient to cause considerable suffering"; and (3) Mr. Fry acted with criminal negligence.

The jury convicted Fry of Third Degree Assault.  When the prosecutor and the defense lawyer went to talk to the jury members after the trial, the prosecutor noticed that one of the jurors had a dictionary.  The bailiff told the prosecutor that the juror said the jury used the dictionary to look up the word "substantial."  Fry moved for new trial based on juror misconduct.

The trial court held a hearing and the juror testified that she looked up the word “substantial” at home and brought the dictionary to deliberations, but did not share the definition or the dictionary with the rest of the jury until after the verdict.  The juror also stated that her looking up the word had little to do with her verdict.  The court concluded that the juror's conduct did not influence the verdict and denied Mr. Fry's motion for a new trial.  Fry appealed.

A defendant is entitled to a new trial if a juror's use of extraneous evidence could influence the verdict and prejudice the defendant. Boling, 131 Wn. App. at 332. But a trial court properly denies a motion for a new trial if "it is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the extrinsic evidence did not contribute to the verdict." Id. at 333.

It is presumed that juror misconduct is prejudicial, but the presumption may be overcome by an adequate showing that the misconduct did not affect the deliberations.  The question of prejudice turns on whether the conduct had an effect on the outcome.  Ah!  Was there an affect on the effect?  Where’s that dictionary?!

Division III found there was no showing of prejudice, but noted that if this juror went so far as to bring a dictionary to the jury room, she should be watched closely while playing Scrabble.

 

Scrabble Dictionary Fry also appealed the verdict stating that the evidence did not support a finding that Mrs. Fry’s pain lasted past the day of the punch.  Division III was unwilling to conclude as a matter of law that “pain extended for a period of time sufficient to cause considerable suffering” means that the pain must last for more than one day.  That’s probably not in the dictionary.  The word “affirm” is in there!
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