Odor of Intoxicants and DUI

Posted by Howard Stein | Feb 06, 2017 | 0 Comments

A slew of recent studies published in medical journals have been focusing on the effectiveness and administration of standard the standard procedures used to determine if someone has been driving while intoxicated. One study published in 1999 looked at the accuracy of a police officer's ability t...

Washington State Supreme Court Round-Up

Posted by Howard Stein | Feb 06, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Washington State Supreme Court has had a busy term. In what many are lauding as a huge step for 1stAmendment Rights, the Court recently issued an opinion overturning a conviction for Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer. In the original case, a 17-year old boy was charged and convicted of Ob...

Debunking the Grand Jury

Posted by Howard Stein | Jun 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

There is a lot of confusion around what a grand jury does, which is understandable as much of the grand jury process takes place behind closed doors. Unlike other court proceedings, which in most cases are required to be open to the public, grand juries are not open to the public. Even more shock...

Juvenile Sentencing Reform

Posted by Howard Stein | Mar 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

Barry Massey was 14 when he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the aggravated murder of Paul Wang. Mr. Massey was only 13 when he and an accomplice plotted to rob the Steilacoom Marina. The location had been specifically targeted based on the juvenile's observation that i...

Tea Leaves & Gardening Store Visit Lead to Search

Posted by Howard Stein | Mar 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

The catalyst for recent changes in Kansas state law is a highly publicized case from 2012 which has recently been brought back to the media's attention due to recent court rulings. In 2012, the Hartes' home was raided as part of a multistate marijuana enforcement operation. Police in swat gear, t...


Posted by Howard Stein | Jan 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Several years ago the news media was full of stories about America's privatization of prisons. Numerous major media outlets ran coverage on an issue with vocal proponents and opponents coming from diverse and varied backgrounds. Politicians were even bringing the issue on the campaign trail with ...

Jury Nullification

Posted by Howard Stein | Jan 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

An unusual case out of Denver, Colorado has brought the long debated idea of jury nullification back into the news media limelight. Two men in Denver were charged with multiple counts of jury tampering for passing out flyers on jury nullification outside of a Denver courthouse. Jury tampering cha...

When Criminal Law and Civil Law Overlap: Felonies

Posted by Howard Stein | Nov 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

A previous blog post highlighted a few misdemeanor offenses which may also create liability in the civil realm. Many felonies also result in civil actions paralleling or following a criminal matter. In some cases the criminal and civil matters may be filed at the same time which creates a number ...

Jury Selection

Posted by Howard Stein | Nov 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

One of the fundamental rights of an individual charged with a crime is the opportunity to have their case heard by a panel of their peers – typically referred to a jury. The jury selection process has gone through several iterations and is inconsistent among different jurisdictions. The first st...

Jail and Competency

Posted by Howard Stein | Sep 08, 2015 | 0 Comments

In April 2015, Judge Pechman of the United States District Court in the Western District of Washington issued a landmark decision in a lawsuit brought against the Department of Social and Health Services in Washington. The case was a class action lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Washington on...

Medical Marijuana - Drastic Changes Coming

Posted by Howard Stein | Aug 07, 2015 | 0 Comments

The state of Washington has always been on the forefront of change on the legalization of marijuana. There have been several changes to medical marijuana laws and interpretation of the laws in the last several months. The Washington State Supreme Court recently provided clarification on its inter...

Social Media and Criminal Justice

Posted by Howard Stein | Jun 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

As the prevalence of social media grows in society so does the impact of social media on the courtroom. There have been a series of highly publicized cases of social media's impact on the courtroom including attorneys and judges making inappropriate posts resulting in sanctions. Of more concern f...

Closing Argument Misconduct

Posted by Howard Stein | May 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

On January 22, 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion holding defendant's right to a fair trial had been violated when the prosecutor used a PowerPoint presentation during their closing argument. In State v. Walker, the defendant had been convicted of accomplice to fi...

Current News in DUI Law

Posted by Howard Stein | May 06, 2015 | 0 Comments

The crime of driving under the influence (DUI) is unique in that it carries mandatory minimum penalties for jail, financial penalties, alcohol/drug treatment, and driver's license suspension. Just being charged with a DUI in fact carries mandatory penalties. Even if a person is never convicted, b...

Modern Day Debtors Prisons

Posted by Howard Stein | Apr 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

When people hear the phrase “debtors' prison” images of an archaic and unjust system from the 1800's when individuals were jailed for their inability to pay debts comes to mind. The idea of debtors' prison fell out of favor in the late 1800's resulting in them being closed. However, current trend...

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