Spokane Criminal Lawyers – Robert Cossey & Associates / When Justice Matters Most! Fri, 17 Mar 2017 17:11:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Marine accidentally discharged weapon, facing manslaughter charges while on leave. /2013/01/marine-accidentally-discharged-weapon-facing-manslaughter-charges-while-on-leave/ Thu, 10 Jan 2013 07:07:45 +0000 /?p=389 Twenty year old Chad Pratt returned home from a tour in Afghanistan for the holidays and attended a party to reconnect with old friends. A party with underage kids and alcohol turned deadly when a loaded weapon was accidentally discharged killing 20 year old Ciara Hardin.

Spokane Police Sergeant Mark Griffiths “At this point it looks like it was just some friends gathered at a house and there was a gun and people were drinking and then the gun was accidentally discharged and she was shot”.

Defense Attorney Rob Cossey said that Pratt is grief stricken and wishes he could change places with his friend Ciara.
“We are very impressed with this young man. He has done everything we have asked him as far as a society, protecting and serving his country. He is devastated by this. He has a great family support system. He is one of the nicest young men I have ever represented”.

Pratt has been released on a $15,000 bond on the condition of no weapons or alcohol.

Fuentes Acquitted in Killing /2012/11/fuentes-acquitted-in-killing/ Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:50:03 +0000 /?p=366 Stafone N. “Stix” Fuentes was acquitted today of helping to shoot and kill Jose J. “Junior” Solis on November 27, 2011 in a gang fight on Third Avenue. Fuentes had been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree assault, riot with a deadly weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm, the Spokesman-Review reports.

Fuentes, age 27, who has prior convictions, was facing life in prison if he had been found guilty in the death of Solis. Fuentes’ defense attorney, Rob Cossey said, “He’s not an angel, but I truly believed he was innocent.” Cossey also said that Fuentes was “one of the brightest clients I’ve ever had.”

Police had alleged that Fuentes handed the weapon to John A. “Lil Danger” Castro, who then shot Solis in the chest, killing him. Cossey questioned why Fuentes was charged when the four men who were involved in the incident were caught on video, and Fuentes was not one of them. Cossey said only one unreliable witness had placed Fuentes at the scene.

As he arrived for court today, eight corrections deputies guarded the entrances and exits.  Fuentes entered, walked over to Cossey and said:  “No matter what happens, you did a great job” and shook Cossey’s hand.

Judge Maryann Moreno dismissed the assault charges, Fuentes was found not guilty on the murder, firearm, and riot charges. Of the acquittal, Cossey said, “I believe I’ve done a good thing here today. I don’t always feel that way.”

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THE CRIMINAL PROCESS 101 /2012/10/the-criminal-process-101/ Sat, 20 Oct 2012 22:15:36 +0000 /?p=335 No one wants to be charged with a crime, but if circumstances are such that you are forced to learn how to move through the system of defending yourself for a crime brought by the State of Washington, the following discussion could be a useful guide.

Finding the right attorney is an important first step, because the skill and expertise of your attorney can be a determining factor in the success of your case.  Many times you don’t know what you need to know until it’s too late and with criminal law you only get one chance.  Make sure and ask your prospective attorney how long they have been practicing criminal law, how many jury trials they have conducted and how they practice the art of negotiation.  Ask them if they have or will hire an investigator, if they are successful at trial and how much they charge.  A personal interview is best so you can get a feel for your trust, confidence and comfort level with this attorney.

It is important to be upfront and candid with your attorney. This allows them to help you make important decisions fully aware of all of the pertinent facts and issues.   Your attorney is legally bound by the Attorney/Client privilege so that any sensitive information cannot be shared or used against you.

Be aware that sometimes your attorney may have professional advice that may be hard to accept.  Everyone wants to be proven innocent and get on with their life, so taking a plea bargain is not the advice that you may want to hear.  Don’t forget that you are paying this attorney for their advice, they have the benefit of not being emotionally attached to the situation and that their advice is based upon their extended experience in the criminal law system.

If you haven’t been charged, but think you are going to be charged with a crime, most people’s initial reaction is to wait and see if they get charged before going out to hire an attorney.   According to Robert Cossey at Robert Cossey and Associates in Spokane, Wa, that is unfortunate because it closes the door on the first line of potential defense, to avoid getting charged in the first place.  “Many times when there are multiple defendants or a complicated fact pattern, working with law enforcement or the prosecutor’s office can prevent charges from being filed.”

Once a crime has been charged, your attorney will work with the Prosecutor’s office to see what kind of plea bargain would be available, if any.  Many times it comes down to an honest evaluation of the benefit of an offered plea bargain versus the risk of losing at trial and the potential penalties, Cossey says.  A good attorney can help you with a professional recommendation based upon their own knowledge and past experience with the system. The decision whether or not to take a plea has to be one of the most gut-wrenching decisions of the entire process.

If your case is scheduled for trial, many times there is an extended period of time between the point of being charged and your actual trial date.  Don’t be surprised if your trial gets continued for one reason or another.  This is the time your attorney may hire an investigator to conduct interviews or an expert witness and works on putting together your case.

When your day at court finally arrives, the experience and skill of your attorney will be apparent.  The prosecutor will work to prove your guilt, your attorney will work to prove your innocence and the judge will make sure that all of the rules of the court are followed.  The jury is there to make a unanimous decision based upon the testimony and evidence presented, beyond a reasonable doubt of your guilt or innocence.

It isn’t a perfect system, but it is a good system and one that is the cornerstone of the democracy of America where you are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers.

EXPUNGE YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD /2012/10/expunge-your-criminal-record/ Sat, 20 Oct 2012 22:14:13 +0000 /?p=333 If you have been living with a criminal record for any length of time, you know the limitations it puts on your life.  You must disclose this record on job, housing and loan applications.  You can’t vote, work or volunteer with the school system, or own and operate a gun.  This conviction, no matter how long ago, still follows you in all aspects of your life.

A little known and underutilized process is available that allows an individual to petition the court to vacate/expunge a criminal conviction (both misdemeanors and felonies).   This allows a person who has complied completely with all conditions of their sentence to have a fresh start and the ability to be able to wipe their public record clean.

There are some requirements to qualify for an expunged/vacated record petition.  You must have completed all court orders as well as the prescribed length of time in the community crime free.  At Robert Cossey and Associates, we are happy to help you with this new phase of your life and can help you determine your eligibility and if you qualify, file for the erasure of your prior conviction.

Another little known and underutilized process involves the restoration of civil rights and restoration of gun rights after a criminal conviction.  Many people don’t realize that they can petition the court to regain their civil rights such as voting or their right to bear firearms.  This requires certain factors of eligibility, but a meeting with Robert Cossey and Associates can provide the necessary information to determine if you qualify.

Finally, if you have a sex conviction on your record, you can petition to remove your requirement to register.  There are a number of statutes and requirements that make this a complicated area of law, but a meeting with Robert Cossey and Associates can help to determine your eligibility.

For those who have complied with the conditions of their sentence, remained crime-free and endured the prescribed length of time, these opportunities to expunge prior criminal convictions provide new freedom and a clean fresh start.

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How to Properly Conduct Yourself during Police Investigation in Washington State /2012/02/how-to-properly-conduct-yourself-during-police-investigation-in-washington-state/ Tue, 07 Feb 2012 21:35:18 +0000 /?p=232

A Police Investigation may bring you anxiety once you’re subjected to it. Fortunately, in Washington and in most states, your proper conduct during Police Investigation will help you avoid some snares and blunders during the intimidating encounter. Whether you are the subject of the Police Investigation or its mere source of information, these tips will help you turn the situation eventually beneficial for everyone involved – including you.

Stay put.

Whenever you see approaching police officers, your first impulse might be to avoid an encounter with them. Remember that avoiding them will make them more suspicious and aggressive. However, if you will immediately cooperate, they will appreciate your help and will be inclined to discharge you as soon as possible.

Keep calm.

During Police Investigation, you’ll probably act in a manner somewhat different from your normal way of dealing with things. But giving in to the panic may give way to potentially disastrous actions and detrimental decisions on your part. Thus, Police Investigation should always be dealt with calmness and rationality.

Pay courtesy.

For your own sake, be mild-mannered and keep your cool.  Do not raise your voice. Do not talk back. Do not use foul words or resort to profanity. You’ll have better chances of safely navigating your way out of the situation if you’ll act tactfully.

Determine why you have been stopped.

Properly ask the officer about how you can help them. Knowing the cause for stopping you will help you decide on your next steps and know what rights you can assert.

Know and assert your rights.

When you are interrogated, arrested or charged with a crime in the State of Washington, you can assert the following rights to protect yourself from unwarranted abuses:

Right to remain silent.

You may be required to give your name and identify yourself, but you can refuse to answer all other questions. You cannot be forced to make statements or admissions. Remember that anything you say may be used against you for future possible charges.

Right to speak with an attorney.

When you feel the need to, do ask for a Lawyer. In asserting this right, you may choose to not answer questions about the incident until have consulted your attorney. Such prudent act will avoid the possibility of unknowingly waiving and sleeping on your rights.

The police offers will most probably seek your assistance, and so your behavior and responses will greatly affect the result of the investigation.  If you can keep proper conduct in its entire course, you can not only help them complete their reports, but also prevent complaints and charges to be filed against you.