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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 Supreme Court: Bad Acts Can't be Used to Prove Prior Inconsistent Statement When There is No Prior Statement to Be Inconsistent With

State v. Gunderson

This is a fairly simple matter. It revolves around the rules of evidence. Normally, you cannot admit evidence of someone’s prior bad actions in order to prove that they committed this bad action. Now, there are exceptions to this, like pretty much every rule under the law. For instance, you can use the prior bad actions to show a similar motive, which could be evidence of the motive in this case matches those in the prior cases. Additionally, if someone makes a statement, and it is inconsistent, you can impeach them with the prior inconsistent statement. This usually goes down something like this:

Lawyer: And is it true that you are playing video games on March 4, 2012?

Witness: I don’t even play video games!

Lawyer: Isn’t it true that your online moniker is gameplayer12?

Witness: Yeah, so?

Lawyer: And didn’t you post as gameplayer12 on March 1, 2014, “I love video games, I love love love them!”?

Witness: I don’t recall.

Here, what happened was something slightly different. This is a domestic violence case, and the victim testified at trial that there was no assault. She’d given no other statements to the police before this. There had been other instances of domestic violence against her by the defendant. The state introduced these prior instances as evidence that her statement there was no assault here was inconsistent.

Kind of a sneaky way to get around the prior bad acts requirement. The only problem is, there has to abandon an actual statement that was made prior, and that was about the current event, in order for there to be a later inconsistent statement about the current event. Simply the fact that there were prior events cannot be used to show that the event actually did happen here. That is the very reason that rule is in place.

This doesn’t mean the prior bad acts are never admissible, for instance, the court noted that where there is an inexplicable recantation of her prior statement, that the prior bad acts may sometimes come in. Note: I am not a criminal defense attorney, nor do I defend  domestic violence cases. There is a whole litany of case law that has to do with when prior bad acts may come in in limited circumstances. However, a run-of-the-mill inconsistent statement, where there was no prior statement to be inconsistent with, does not count.

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