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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.

Washington Legal Roundup – Division I

State v. Simms

Daniel Simms was convicted of first degree robbery and two counts of assault.  The court doubled the length of Mr. Simms’ sentence based on RCW 98.94A.533(3)(d) (the firearm sentencing enhancement) and the fact that he had previously been convicted of second degree assault with a firearm enhancement. 

Mr. Simms argued on appeal that only the jury could determine whether the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he had been previously convicted of a firearm crime.  This requirement arises out of the Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004) line of cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court had held that for purposes of the Sixth Amendment, the jury alone was charged with determining whether all facts that could increase a defendant’s sentence had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  But in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 584 (2000), the U.S. Supreme Court had held that the fact of a prior conviction was not one of the facts that needed to be proven to the trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr. Simms also argued that the double jeopardy prohibition in the state and federal constitutions made it unconstitutional to increase his sentence on the basis of a prior conviction.  The Court of Appeals said no go to this argument as well, stating that because the legislative intent was not to punish Mr. Simms for the prior conviction but to enhance the penalty for the current conduct involving a firearm, double jeopardy was not violated.

Mr. Simms had insisted upon representing himself and attempted to do so again on appeal.  The Court of Appeals determined that he did not have a right to fire his appellate counsel and present oral argument himself.

Note to pro se criminal defendants:  The maxim that a person who serves as his own attorney has a fool for a client generally holds true.  There should be another maxim in this setting: If you’ve got Greg Link and the Washington Appellate Project as your appellate counsel, count your blessings.

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