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Case Conclusion Date: 12.01.2015
Practice Area: Criminal defense
Outcome: Jury Acquittal on False Statements ; Dismissals on Obstructing and Rendering Criminal Assistance
Description: Client was originally charged with Rendering Criminal Assistance Second Degree under RCW 9A.76.080(2) and Making False Statements to a Public Servant under RCW 9A.76.175 (False Statements). Both crimes are gross misdemeanors punishable up to 1 year jail and a $5,000.00 fine each. The events surrounding Client's charges were tragic. Law enforcement officers tried serving a bench warrant on Client's son while he was at Client's home. Unfortunately, Client's son was shot and killed by police when they attempted a highly aggressive forced entry into Client's home. Client was subsequently arrested and charged on allegations that she lied to police about her son's whereabouts, attempted to hide her son and was unwilling to cooperate/assist law enforcement’s efforts to detain him. Mr. Ransom argued a pretrial Knapstad motion to dismiss all charges. The judge dismissed the Rendering Criminal Assistance charges based on a lack of evidence. Nevertheless, the judge denied Mr. Ransom's motion to dismiss the False Statements charge. The case proceeded to jury trial. Days before trial, Prosecutor attempted to add charges of Obstructing on the theory that Client "willfully hindered or delayed police officers in the execution of their duties." In response, Mr. Ransom argued a motion to dismiss the Obstruction charges under Court Rule 8.4(b) on the basis that filing the charges literally days before trial was Prosecutorial Misconduct/Mismanagement which prejudiced Client's case. Fortunately, the judge granted Mr. Ransom's motion to dismiss. Again, the False Statements charge proceeded to jury trial. Mr. Ransom argued that although Client's statements to police regarding the whereabouts of her son were dishonest, the statements were not "material" because no officers reasonably relied on her statements anyway. The jury was persuaded. They acquitted Client under 30 minutes.