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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 Court of Appeals - Div. I: Confrontation Clause Requires the Witness, Not a Piece of Paper for DOL Testimony

State v. Jasper

I apologize for the link to the Washington Courts site. Google Scholar is slacking with its polling, even though this opinion was entered almost a week ago.

Anyhow. Jasper was driving. He didn't have a license. Because the Prof is cheap and lazy and doesn't know how to add youtube to this properly, I will instead just give you a link to the kid from the Charlie Bit Me Video....his name is Jasper and he's pushing Charlie around in a car. Its the first thing that came up, and its super cute!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbe1ZqMJ210

Anyhow, you can imagine what Jasper was charged with...not the cute Jasper in the video, the abstract one in the opinion.

So the State, to prove that there was no license came up with an affidavit from the DOL saying they did a search and found no valid license. Unfortunately, it's hard to cross-examine an affidavit. This tends to violate the confrontation clause, which requires an opportunity to cross-examine. The supreme court analyzed our law in relation to the recent United States Supreme Court Case of Melendez-Diaz:

The affidavit is not merely a certification that the agency records attached to the affidavit were true and correct copies of records possessed by the DOL. Without question, such a statement would be of the type approved by Melendez-Diaz. 129 S. Ct. at 2539; see, e.g., United States v. Mallory, __ F. Supp. 2d __, 2010 WL 1286038, *3 (E.D. Va. 2010) ("[T]he FedEx custodian's certification in this case does not comment on the content or meaning of the record. . . . [and] does not attempt to describe or decipher the content of the business record" but merely certified that the attached documents were true copies of records kept in the regular course of business).

Instead, the affidavit herein contains ex parte statements made for the purpose of establishing the fact that Jasper was driving with a suspended license on the day of the collision. The affidavit first asserts that the affiant performed a diligent search, implying that the person searching the records knew what records to search for, knew how to find them in the database, and conducted the search correctly. The affidavit next states that Jasper's license was suspended on a particular day. This statement explains what the results of the records search revealed and what the witness concluded from the records searched. These statements are testimonial because they constitute factual assertions, intended to prove an element of a crime charged. They are not mere statements of the authenticity of the attached records themselves. The affidavit also contains an indirect assertion regarding the non-existence of a record, impliedly asserting that no agency records exist indicating either that Jasper avoided suspension of his license by properly attending to the prior citations referenced in the two letters or that his license was ever reinstated following such a suspension. A statement asserting that a particular record does not exist, when offered to establish that fact, is testimonial.

Let's hope Jasper remembers to get his license...and hopefully some insurance...before his next crash.

 

 

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