To Release or Not – a Judge’s Dilemma

SQ Attorneys

SQ Attorneys

Recently, a King County Court Judge released a suspect who allegedly admitted to being responsible for vandalizing a Starbucks coffee shop on President Biden’s inauguration night. The man allegedly admitted that he smashed windows and entered the Starbucks so as to earn the trust of the others in his group. The King County Prosecutor’s Office requested that the man not be released. They requested that the person be held in jail on $5,000 bail. The Judge declined to follow the prosecution’s request. No doubt this decision was because she found that it wasn’t the least restrictive means necessary to ensure that the person would: (1) appear back in court at future hearings (not a flight risk), and/or (2) be a danger to others – which is what the law requires under CrR 3.2; CrLJ 3.2. The presumption, in non-capital cases, is for the suspect to be released – the court rule reads in part: “Any person, other than a person charged with a capital offense, shall at the preliminary appearance or reappearance pursuant to rule 3.2.1 or CrRLJ 3.2.1 be ordered released on the accused’s personal recognizance pending trial …”

Some argue that such a person should not be released and that the court rules are easily met by simply tailoring the basis of a judge’s decision to meet the criteria. On the other hand, others say – in short – don’t bend the rules, read the law (i.e. the court rule(s)) exactly as it is written. Apply the facts to the court rule, whether you like the end result or not. It is clear that this particular judge falls in line with the latter. That – for both defendants and defense attorney alike – is all one can ask for … be fair, don’t acquiesce to the unfettered pressures of the government. Read and apply the law as it is written. Cases, like the one herein, expose why that decision may sometimes be tough for a judge. Regardless, it is the right decision. It upholds the high standards of our legal system, as intended.

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge (whether it be in Seattle or elsewhere), don’t hesitate to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal attorneys that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.

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