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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP   PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION LAWYERS

Issaquah Law Group - Injury Litigation Attorneys

TRUST: Personal injuries are personal. Which is why the attorneys at ILG treat every client and every case differently. Because they are different, and extremely personal. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built on trust. Trust that you will be heard. Trust that you will be protected. Trust that every effort will be made to see justice done in your case. The singular goal of every ILG attorney is to earn and preserve that trust.

EXPERIENCE: 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 and we bring this experience to bear on behalf of our clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents, bus versus pedestrian accidents, defective and dangerous products, medical malpractice, slip/trip and fall accidents, and catastrophic losses due to fire.

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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 Supreme Court: Bench Warrant on Probation Violation Only Requires Well-Founded Suspicion

State v. Erickson

Erikson was on probation, and failed to show for probation hearing. Naturally, the court issued a bench warrant. He was found, arrested, and the search revealed little bit of snow. Seeing as he was arrested in August, I'm guessing this wasn't acquired at a recent trip to Whistler.

Anyhow, the court never did make a formal finding of probable cause on the probation violation alleged. This argument didn't go over so well:

Erickson essentially argues that under Parks, a judge does not have authority to issue an arrest warrant unless a formal finding of probable cause has previously been made on the underlying reasons for the hearing, in this case the probation violation allegations. But as the Court of Appeals noted below, unlike Parks, Erickson had not simply been accused of a crime but had previously been convicted of fourth degree assault. Erickson, 143 Wn. App. at 666-67. The Court of Appeals reasoned that because probable cause had earlier been found on that charge, the bench warrant was valid. Id. at 662. It noted, "punishment imposed for a probation violation relates to the original conviction for which probation was granted." Id. (citing State v. Watson, 160 Wn.2d 1, 8-9, 154 P.3d 909 (2007)). It therefore held that Erickson could be arrested for failing to appear at the scheduled hearing regardless of whether the court had cause to believe he had violated his probation. Erickson, 143 Wn. App. at 667.

. . .

Erickson argues that under Fisher, the court here could only issue a bench warrant if it had at minimum a "well-founded suspicion" that a violation of the terms of release had occurred. Id. at 232. While we agree with Erickson regarding the required standard, we conclude that in this case the issuing court did have a "well founded suspicion" that Erickson had violated the conditions of his release. Had the bench warrant here been issued immediately after the court received notice of the probation violation allegations, we might be more persuaded by Erickson's argument. But one of the conditions of Erickson's release was that he notify the court of any address change. The returned summons stated that Erickson had moved and had left no forwarding address. This alone provided the court with a well-founded suspicion that Erickson had violated the terms of release. The bench warrant was therefore valid and provided adequate authority of law to arrest Erickson.

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