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groundbreaking Cases

For more than 30 years, NKG attorneys have Defended our clients’ constitutional rights
A small sample of our work

State v. Sum, 199 Wn.2d 627, 511 P.3d 92 (2022) (a person is "seized" by law enforcement if, considering all circumstances, an objective observer could conclude the person was not free to leave, to refuse a request, or to otherwise terminate the encounter;  establishing under Washington Constitution that an "objective observer is aware that implicit, institutional, and unconscious biases, in addition to purposeful discrimination, have resulted in disproportionate police contacts, investigative seizures, and uses of force against Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) in Washington"; evidence obtained during unlawful seizure suppressed and Court of Appeals reversed)

In re Dependency of L.C.S., 200 Wn.2d 91, 514 P.3d 644 (2022) (in child dependency case, no exception to the requirement that government exercise reasonable efforts to alleviate in-home conditions before placing child out of their home; "flexible standard" does not excuse the government from making no efforts to keep child with parent; trial court reversed)

State v. Taylor, 18 Wn. App. 2d 568, 490 P.3d 263 (2021) (state’s expert psychologist 
repeatedly violated court’s pretrial orders; murder conviction reversed)

In re Termination of Parental Rights to M.A.S.C., 197 Wn.2d 685, 486 P.3d 886 (2021) 
(parent facing termination of parental rights entitled to be offered remedial services in 
terms that are understandable in light of known cognitive deficits; order terminating 
parental rights reversed)

State v. Carballo, 17 Wn. App. 2d 337, 486 P.3d 142 (2021) (trial court violated 
defendant's Sixth Amendment right to present a defense by refusing to allow defendant 
to cross-examine the State's key witness about her immigration status in relation to a 
possible motive to lie; murder conviction reversed)

State v. Kitt, 9 Wn. App. 2d, 442 P.3d 1280 (2019) (trial court erred by refusing to allow 
counsel to withdraw where counsel had a conflict of interest; convictions for murder and 
assault reversed)

State v. Sassen Van Elsloo, 191 Wn.2d 798, 425 P.3d 807 (2018) (as a matter of first 
impression, constitutional right to a unanimous verdict violated where there is a 
reasonable possibility the trial court dismissed an impaneled juror based on juror's 
views on sufficiency of the State’s evidence; nine felony convictions reversed)

State v. Estes, 188 Wn.2d 450, 395 P.3d 1045 (2017) (defense counsel ineffective for 
failing to recognize client faced life in prison if convicted at trial and thus could not fully 
inform client of his options during plea bargaining process; convictions and life sentence

State v. Bluford, 188 Wn.2d 298, 393 P.3d 1219 (2017) (joinder of multiple charges in a 
single trial prejudiced the defendant; all convictions and life sentence reversed)

State v. Blazina, 182 Wn.2d 827, 344 P.3d 827 (2015) (sentencing courts must make an
individualized inquiry into a defendant’s ability to pay legal financial obligations before 
imposing them; cases remanded for new sentencing hearings)

In re Detention of D.W., 181 Wn.2d 201, 332 P.3d 423 (2014) (psychiatric boarding of 
the mentally ill in hospital emergency rooms while awaiting assessment for civil 
commitment unlawful under Washington's Involuntary Treatment Act)

State v. Meneese, 174 Wn.2d 937, 282 P.3d 83 (2012) (school search exception to the 
warrant requirement does not extend to a school resource officer’s search of a student’s
backpack; evidence from backpack suppressed and convictions reversed)

State v. Irby, 170 Wn.2d 874, 246 P.3d 796 (2011) (criminal defendants have a 
constitutional right to be present and participate during the entire jury selection process; 
aggravated murder conviction reversed)  

In re Mulholland, 161 Wn.2d 322, 166 P.3d 677 (2007) (despite language in RCW 
9.94A.589(1)(b) that sentences for multiple serious violent offenses “shall be served 
consecutively to each other,” courts may order them served concurrently as a mitigated 
exceptional sentence under RCW 9.94A.535; remanded for resentencing)

State v. C.G., 150 Wn.2d 604, 80 P.3d 594 (2003) (felony harassment required proof of 
the alleged victim’s reasonable fear of death rather than reasonable fear of harm; 
evidence insufficient and conviction reversed)

State v. Cronin, 142 Wn.2d 568, 14 P.3d 752 (2000) (Washington’s standard 
accomplice liability instruction misstates the law, eases the prosecution’s proof 
requirements, and violates due process; assault and murder convictions reversed)

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