Former Elected Prosecutor Now Practicing Criminal Defense: A thought leader in criminal justice, Angus Lee works with elected officials and community leaders to reform our criminal justice system.
As a renowned criminal defense attorney, Angus Lee's reputation and experience often result in high-profile cases. One of these cases occurred recently when Angus Lee served as a prosecuting attorney in State v. Nathan Brooks. Nathon Brooks, at age 14, attempted to kill his parents in their home in Moses Lake, Washington in March 2013. Miraculously, both parents survived their injuries.
As prosecuting attorney, Angus Lee argued that Nathon should be tried as an adult, even though he was 14 at the time of the incident. If Nathon was tried as a juvenile, he would automatically be released from incarceration at age 21. Given the serious nature of the crime and the threat to public safety Nathon could pose, Angus successfully argued to the court that he should stand as an adult, which would impose a stricter sentence and more jail time. The court ended up deciding that Nathon should stand trial as an adult for two counts of attempted murder.
In the end, Nathon pled guilty as an adult, and was sentenced to a sentence much longer than what he would have faced being tried...more
Time and time again, throughout the history of our courts, a technology will be released, aimed at proving X, Y or Z, with an attempt to make the system easier for all. While this technology appears to be ideal for lawyers and judges, none are fully trained to understand why we shouldn’t rely on them as evidence in the court of law.more
We're proud to announce that AVVO has awarded Angus Lee their prestigious Client's Choice Award. This award is given to attorneys whose outstanding legal services have resulted in highly satisfied clients. This is Lee's third year in a row to win the award, showing that he is one of the great criminal defense attorneys in Washington State.
One only needs to glance at client testimonials to see how hard he works for every client he represents. One satisfied client writes that Lee is "extremely professional and knowledgeable, and knew exactly how to handle my case." Another praises Lee for how he "patiently and expertly helped us through a complicated and serious legal situation." And yet another satisfied client says that Lee is "The one you want by your side!"more
A senate bill that seeks to require the WSBA obtain an affirmative vote of the WSBA membership prior to increasing bar dues is scheduled for 2/14/17 at 10:00 A.M.
Testimony will be taken in Olympia, and by satellite in Spokane and Vancouver.
If you would like to testify in support of the bill, make sure to register before 5:00 PM on 2/13/17.more
A complaint has been filed against the WSBA by attorney Stephen Eugster. Eugster has practiced law in the state of Washington for over 45 years. He is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law in 1969, where he was a member of the Washington Law Review and its Managing Editor for one year.
For many years he practiced as commercial and estates lawyer — first at Davis Wright Todd Reise & Jones in Seattle, and next at Lukins & Annis PS in Spokane.
In the fall of 1990 he opened his law office in Spokane. The purpose of the new law office was to allow him to do more public interest, public trust advocacy and litigation.
He was a Spokane City Council Member from 2000 through 2003.more
By a WSBA Member-
Vice-Chair O'Ban, Ranking Member Darneille, and Members of the Law and Justice Committee:
I write to you in strong support of Senate Bill 5721, requiring the Washington State Bar Association to obtain an affirmative vote prior to increasing bar dues for membership.
A senate bill has been introduced by the chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee that seeks to require the WSBA to obtain an affirmative vote of the WSBA membership prior to increasing bar dues. The bill is written to be retroactively applied to the 2016 dues increase.
Full text of the current bill is below.
PLEASE CONTACT SENATE LAW AND JUSTICE COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND SHOW SUPPORT FOR THE BILL.more
Everyone should have a safety plan.
Whether you are just being a responsible adult, or someone asking the court to remove a protection order that you don’t want “protecting you,” it is a good idea to have a written safety plan that helps you think through what you would do in the event of an emergency.
There are plenty of sample safety plans available on the internet. Here is a sample safety plan similar to what we have used in court when representing someone who want’s to have a protection order lifted.
Having a safety plan can demonstrate to the judge that a person requesting to have a protection order lifted is a responsible adult who is being proactive and does not need court interference with their life.more
An Ignition Interlock Driver License (IIL) allows you to drive a vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked for a drug or alcohol–related offense.
To be eligible, your driving record must show all of the following and that you have an unexpired WA driver license or valid out of state driver license:
It is not guns or religion or taxes that actually ignite revolutions and social upheaval. It is access to information. This is particularly true when the information is filtered and politically oriented.
The American Revolution in the 1700s would not have occurred if not for (1) the invention of the printing press and (2) the fact that at the time the American colonies had the highest literacy rates in history. In other words, they had access to mass information and it pissed them off enough to fight.
For the same reasons, the "Arab Spring" would not have occurred if not for Facebook and Twitter. Again, they had access to mass information and got pissed enough to revolt.
A recent Wall Street Journal article effectively demonstrates how mass information, mixed with confirmation bias and "relevance" filters are working to spread mass disinformation to both political tribes. As a result, both tribes are abandoning a truly reason based discourse in exchange for name calling and labeling.
It is clear...more
After an arrest for DUI, you have the right to request a formal hearing to contest the suspension or revocation of your driving privilege.
Your request must be postmarked within 20 days of the date of arrest, or within 20 days of the date the notice was given. If your request is not made within this time frame, you will have waived your right to a hearing.
During your DUI hearing, a hearing examiner will consider:
In almost every mass carnage terrorist attack there is one common denominator that nobody wants to talk about.
Nobody talks about it because there is absolutely no advantage for either political party. Nobody talks about it because our reflex is to find an external cause for mass carnage (guns/religion). And nobody talks about it because we want to calm our fears with a solution looking outward, but not inward.
The single common denominator in each mass carnage attack (be it by gun, knife, hatchet, or plane) is that a strikingly large number of individuals turned their back to just one or two bad men, and then either ran away, waited for someone to arrive and help, or simply waited to be killed without fighting back.
Nobody wants to talk about this, but it is true. And to do the victims of these attacks any justice or honor, we must face the hard truths and learn from this tragedy.
The simple and undeniable truth is that mass flight from an armed attacker has always, and will always, result in mass carnage. This is true on the battle field, on a bus, or...more
Angus Lee & Jennifer Lee
In a single year, 1,456 drivers were arrested and cited for DUI in Washington state even though they had complied with state BAC test requirements and provided breath samples registering alcohol levels below the legal limit of 0.08. In that same year, 4,139 drivers were accused of refusing to provide breath samples.more
Prosecutors and police have a duty to seek out and voluntarily disclose every bit of evidence that helps a person accused of a crime defend themselves from prosecution. This kind of “exculpatory” evidence can come in the form of improper evidence handling, insufficient officer training, negative officer performance reviews, and even dishonesty or wrongdoing by a police officer.more
In a city where the Police Department has been warning residents of an increase in vehicle prowling and break ins, a Ridgefield homeowner was arrested on Saturday for arming himself and demanding that a suspected prowler leave his property.
Mr. Daniel Baisa, a big rig diesel mechanic who has been living in his home since 2010, was working in his garage when he noticed a suspicious individual who appeared to be prowling behind one of his cars. Alarmed, Baisa retrieved his handgun from inside the house. When he returned, the suspect advanced between Baisa’s two cars and towards Baisa in his garage. Baisa demanded the intruder get off his property. When the suspect did not immediately do so, Baisa displayed his weapon by pointing it at the ground and demanded a second time the man leave.
The intruder, a Mr. Ed Owens, left, but in a twist of irony, contacted the Ridgefield Police Department to...more
It is disappointing to see the President, and some others in the federal government, not only attack the means by which individuals choose to defend themselves, but now make clear they also seek to limit and infringe upon the very basic human right of self-defense. Specifically, former Attorney General Eric Holder recently stated that "it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense" and argued that the government should impose upon law abiding citizens a "duty to retreat" from an attacking criminal.
First, self-defense is not some legal "concept." It is much more; it is a basic and fundamental human right. This right does not come as a gift from government, but exists independent of, and prior to, government.
Second, 'Stand Your Ground' (traditionally known as "no duty to retreat") is not new, novel, or a 'senseless expansion' of the right self-defense. It is a long standing, generally accepted, and rationally based law.
Since the 1800s it has been clear that federal law imposes no duty to retreat.
The same has been true in...more
Hope Solo is innocent. The case against her was rightly dismissed. Solo’s relatives, like so many unscrupulous individuals, appear to be using Washington State’s domestic violence mandatory arrest law for personal gain and attention. The appeal in this case is nothing more than the prosecution’s attempt to control publicity and will fail. And, contrary to what the likes of Keith Olbermann say, Solo is an outstanding role model for excellence in athletics.
Let’s make sure that is the very first thing that everyone understands. Her case was dismissed because the witnesses against her refused to answer questions under oath. In fact, according to ESPN, when Judge Lambo ordered them to appear for a deposition, Obert, Solo's half sister, intentionally skipped town to avoid answering.
Lauren Drake, and the Columbian, have done some outstanding reporting on the body camera issue over the last year. When you sit down and read all of it you come away realizing that if we are going to have body cameras in Washington State, it will take the will of the people, NOT elected officials.
In November the Columbian reported that “Body cameras are not yet worn in Clark County” and later reported that “Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain said nobody in the Vancouver Police Department currently uses body cameras.”
Also in November, the Columbian weighed in on the matter in an editorial and concluded “...more
Danny Westneat, of the Seattle Times, asks some interesting questions and makes some interesting points in his article "What if signature gathering didn’t take $1 million?" Check it out. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/a-one-man-crusade-to-democratize-costly-initiative-process-with-online-signatures/
Democracy 2.0 is coming. www.BodyCameras.orgmore
VANCOUVER, WA— Former elected prosecutor, Angus Lee, has filed two voter initiatives with the Secretary of State that would require state law enforcement officers to wear body cameras while in uniform and another that would require that law enforcement agencies publish on their department web pages when an officer in their agency has used force on someone in the line of duty.
He has also made signing the petition possible online using Docusign technology. He is hoping that through the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, those interested can both sign on line, and also reach out to their family and friends to do the same.
The voter initiative can be signed online at www.copcameras.org.
If successful, this would the first time a Washington State Voter Initiative has gathered petition signatures using electronic signature gathering.
Angus Lee said that “we are trying to increase public safety, improve law enforcement accountability, and enhance democracy by gathering these petition signatures...more
In recent weeks the soon to be former U.S. Attorney General released the DOJ findings on policing and justice in Ferguson. A hallmark of the comments made publicly by Holder was that for law enforcement to work there must be TRUST. He was correct, but wouldn't it be nice if he practiced what he preached.
As we all know, the rally cry of this Ferguson movement was “hands up, don’t shoot”. And now we all know that there is exactly zero basis in reality to believe that there was a factual basis to support this “hands up” symbol. Yet that did not stop the media, Holder, celebrities, and others to rush to judgement and perpetuate the lie of this symbol.
If you want a movement to last and make progress you need TRUST, and you cannot use for that movement a symbol that is based on a lie. Instead of doubling down on “hands up” Holder, and others should walk away from that and find a symbol based on reality.more
By Angus Lee
This week the White House published the interim report on policing in the 21st century. It has some good parts. You can read the 100 page report HERE, but I thought you might like a few highlighted quotes and some commentary.
“Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential in a democracy.”
“It is key to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.”
“People are more likely to obey the law when they believe those who are enforcing it have the right—the legitimate authority—to tell them what to do.”
“How officers define their role will set the tone for the community. As Plato wrote, ‘In a republic that honors the core of democracy—the greatest amount of power is given to those called Guardians. Only those with the most impeccable character are chosen to bear the responsibility of protecting the democracy.’”
By Angus Lee
A White House Task Force is suggesting that all officer involved shootings be reviewed by a special prosecutor.
This is a very good idea and could do a great deal to repair the lost trust between law enforcement and those they serve in certain communities.more
Sometimes you have to take a stand if you want to see reforms. Former Senator Holmquist recognized the efforts of Angus Lee to reform the criminal justice system and supported his efforts by voting for this reform bill. See below.
Grant County Prosecutor D. Angus Lee and State Sen.Janéa Holmquist Newbry today commented on the passage of House Bill 2164 – a bipartisan measure aimed at addressing the criminal misuse of firearms by teens.
“I am pleased that we were able to get this bill passed with such large bipartisan support...more
Fraud and identity theft have been increasing throughout the years and are sure to continue.
Here are 10 simple Do’s and Don’ts to help you avoid becoming a victim of these devastating economic crimes.
• 1 — Shred all credit card offers and statements before putting them in the trash. Simply tearing the letter into a few pieces does not always work.
• 2 — Don’t print your Social Security number on your checks.
• 3 — Keep a list of your credit card and bank account numbers and phone numbers in a safe place, so if your purse or wallet is stolen, you can immediately call the appropriate institutions. The faster you act, the quicker the thief is blocked.
• 4 — Don’t keep your account PIN number in the same place as your credit cards or ATM cards.
• 5 — Bank online if possible. It’s easier and, so far, it’s proven safer.
• 6 — Don’t ever respond to an e-mail claiming to be from your bank that requests you to enter your account number or any credit card numbers.
• 7 — If you take part in online auctions, keep all e-mails verifying your...more
KXLY has reported accurately on my efforts, working with state law makers, to reduce gun crime committed by the mentally ill.
Last session I wrote to state law makers that I was looking to reduce “criminal misuse of firearms” and can do so by a “simple amendment” to the law that restores firearm rights to those involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.
Under the current law, people involuntarily committed can have their firearm rights restored without sufficiently ensuring that their mental health is fully restored.
In my letter I explained that "under the current law the trial court must restore firearm rights even if the trial court feels that there is a 49.9 percent likelihood that the person who was once involuntarily committed has not successfully managed the condition related to the commitment, is likely to have a recurrence of the condition, and still presents a substantial danger to the public.”
To fix this problem, I propose a minimum mandatory waiting period of 12 months after being released from an involuntary commitment. I also...more
Below is an open letter I wrote to state law makers (Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, and Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg) in the last legislative session. As always, Judy and Mat were very easy to work with and very interested in criminal justice reform.
First let me start by saying thank you for taking the time to include me in your recent discussion of possible legislation to reduce gun crime. I truly appreciate being able to work with you on this and I appreciate your efforts in this regard.
In addition to your efforts to reduce gun violence, I am sure you will be faced with numerous difficult votes this year. Below are two bills that I want to briefly call to your attention.
HB 1147: Modifying first degree unlawful possession of a firearm provisions
This bill Includes in the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree, an adult who has in his or her possession any firearm after having previously been convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.
This is bipartisan legislation that will help...more
By Angus Lee
Last year the Herald reported on my efforts to raise awareness regarding gun crime sentencing laws. See Below.
Some action was taken in Olympia in response to this, but not enough. It is unlikely that our representatives in Olympia have the courage to make the necessary changes in our criminal laws to effect real improvements in public safety by reducing the criminal misuse of firearms.
March 8, 2014 9:05 am | Updated: 4:13 pm, Tue Mar 11, 2014.
By Joe Utter,
Herald staff writer
Update: House Bill 2164 passed the Senate after our print deadline for Friday's paper, but before the story was printed. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
MOSES LAKE - Grant County Prosecutor D. Angus Lee continues to push for support from lawmakers to reduce the criminal misuse of firearms.
In a letter to Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry this week, Lee asked for a vote in favor of House Bill 2164, which...more
By Angus Lee
In 2013 and 2014 the Columbia Basin Herald reported on the county wide drop in reported juvenile crime. See Below. Specifically, the county had experienced several years of apparently decreasing reports of juvenile crime. The question is why did the reports of juvenile crime go down?
Was it policing? Was it schooling? Was it a change in the economy or local after school programs? The reality is that none of those things changed drastically in anytime relevant to the drop in reported crime.
What did change however, is the amount of time, effort, and resources committed to juvenile prosecution by the prosecutor's office shortly before the reduction in reported juvenile crime began.
Early prevention to break the criminal cycle requires proactive...more
By Angus Lee
Last year iFiberOne reported on my efforts (as the then elected prosecutor) to reduce gang crime through targeted prosecution of selected offenders by using a non-traditional tool. See Below.
Specifically the goal was to use cost effective probation violations to incapacitate high level gang members. This tool was showing promise and is something that should be considered by others in the field. It would be a detriment to the community if those efforts are not continued.
By Cameron Probert
EPHRATA – A prosecutor’s office task force is targeting gang members violating their probation.
The Grant County Prosecutor’s Office formed the gang prosecution task force in March. The deputy prosecutors have been working with law enforcement to identify gang members and “high priority individuals” inside the gangs, he stated.
“Members of criminal street...more
This was a very interesting article by the Columbian in Vancouver. It was very nice to have them reach out to me for comment on the Governor's decision on the death penalty.
By Lauren Dake, Columbian political writer
Published: August 31, 2014
Jeff “Mac” McEllrath has never regretted his decision to help send Westley Allan Dodd to the gallows.
Twenty-five years ago on Labor Day, Dodd stabbed to death two brothers, William, 10, and Cole Neer, 11, in David Douglas Park in Vancouver. Later, the killer abducted 4-year-old Lee Iseli in Portland, murdered him and left his body near Vancouver Lake.
The murders haunted the community and gripped the nation. Memories from the grisly cases linger. McEllrath, a juror in Dodd’s trial, remembers Dodd’s detailed diary, the gruesome photos the child killer snapped of his victims, and the plans Dodd outlined for future targets.
In 2013, two highly respected experts in the filed of legal ethics weighed in on the 2009 allegations against Angus lee and authored comprehensive and detailed written opinions that there was no violation of the Rules of Professional conduct by Angus Lee.
Ethics expert Peter Jarvis wrote in the below analysis of the issues that Angus "Lee committed no RPC violations, did not ratify, direct or assist anyone else in committing such violations and cannot be said to have run an office in which ethical issues were ignored or were not fully and timely addressed."
Ethics expert Arthur Lachman authored an opinion coming to the same conclusion, writing "In my opinion, for the reasons set forth in detail below, Angus Lee did not violate the conflict of interest provisions of the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct."
Ethics experts Arthur Lachman and Peter Jarvis were not alone in their conclusion. In fact, five members of the WSBA board that reviewed the matter voted to dismiss it.more
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