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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. Hartzell

Charles Hartzell and Jeremy Tieskotter were convicted of armed assault and unlawful possession of a firearm used to shoot into an apartment occupied by a woman and her daughter.  Police had tracked them down after witnesses saw two people shooting out of the sunroof of a red car, recovered bullet fragments in the apartment wall and found the weapon that had fired the shots near a car with a bullet hole also matching the gun. 

On appeal, Messrs. Hartzell and Teiskotter argued that the K-9 dog that was used to “sniff” next to the car to obtain the scent of the gun had conducted an unreasonable search without a warrant under article I, section 7 of the Washington Constitution.  The court of appeals determined that this argument did not pass the “smell test.”  Even though law enforcement cannot use artificial means to search from outside a place where a person has an expectation of privacy, a dog “sniff” that occurs in an area where a person does not have an expectation of privacy, and that is minimally intrusive is OK.  The dog had “sniffed from a lawful vantage point.”

Hartzell and Tieskotter also argued on appeal that evidence of having previously fired the gun in question should not have been admitted under ER 404(b).  That argument didn’t pass the smell test either, because that evidence was not offered that the defendants had a propensity to engage in gun crimes, but as circumstantial evidence that it had been those two, found with the same gun shortly thereafter, who had fired the gun earlier.

The court also rejected the argument of Mr. Hartzell that the court allowed prejudicial evidence regarding a prior crime in Thurston county because Mr. Hartzell, who was representing himself, opened the door, after a warning from the trial court, to evidence of that conduct during his cross examination of one of the police detectives.

The Court of Appeals also determined that the jury instructions were proper and that the state’s closing argument did not deny Mr. Hartzell a fair trial.

The Court of Appeals also determined that a firearm enhancement was appropriate under Blakely and that cumulative error as a basis for relief was not available.

The Court of Appeals did remand for resentencing because there was a chance that the total sentence, including time in community custody, could exceed the maximum sentence of ten years for the charged crimes.

Note to persons seeking to represent themselves, whether they be attorneys or lay persons, whether they be involved in criminal or civil matters: A man (or woman) who represents himself in court has a fool for a client (and a fool for a lawyer).

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