June News!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

 Case News, Staff News,  Community News, & Tacoma Job Annoucement!


Case News:

Congrats to Seattle AFD Jennifer Wellman, who learned on June 7, 2019 that the Court granted compassionate release for her 56-year-old disabled client who suffers from degenerative disc disease among other serious conditions. This case falls under U.S.S.G. § 1B1.13 n.1(A)(ii) for a serious condition that “substantially diminishes the ability of the defendant to provide self-care within the environment of a correctional facility.” This is the provision that does not have an age cut-off. Wonderful work, Jennifer!


CJA Panel member Jason Saunders was victorious in his 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case and details the following:

An anonymous YWCA resident informed an employee that there was a black man outside with a gun. The employee called 911. When the 911 operator asked the YWCA manager what the black man was doing with the gun (e.g. making threats or displaying the gun), no other information was given and the anonymous tipper did not want to talk to police. Seattle Police including Metro Transit Police all convened at the YWCA. A metro transit officer spotted my client walking on the street and started to slowly follow him in the patrol car. After following him slowly for blocks, my client started to walk southbound on 4th Avenue. Despite the fact that 4th Avenue is a one-way northbound street, the metro transit officer turned southbound, activated his emergency lights, and pursued my client. Noticing the patrol car coming the wrong way with its lights on, my client started to run. Metro police stopped my client, ordered him to the ground, handcuffed him, searched him and found the gun and narcotics in his pockets. In the United States District Court for Western Washington, we moved to suppress the seized evidence. The judge denied the motion, ruling that police had reasonable suspicion to stop him because he ran from officers.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling. Judge M. Margaret McKeown ruled, “[w]ith no reliable tip, no reported criminal activity, no threat of harm, no suggestion that the area was known for high crime or narcotics, no command to stop, and no requirement to even speak with the police, we are left with little more than my client’s flight from the officers, which is not enough under the circumstances.” The Court noted that race may well have been the reason for police to respond as they did as well as my client’s reason for running: “Given that racial dynamics in our society—along with a simple desire not to interact with police—offer an ‘innocent’ explanation of flight, when every other fact posited by the government weighs so weakly in support of reasonable suspicion, we are particularly hesitant to allow flight to carry the day inauthorizing a stop.” Congrats to Jason!


Staff News:


Federal Public Defender’s Office Hires its First Ever CJA Resource Counsel

Welcome Jennifer Kaplan who has been hired as our first ever CJA Resource Counsel! The “CJA Resource Counsel” (CJARC) is an attorney- selected by the Federal Public Defender in consultation with the CJA Standing Committee and the Court. The CJARC reviews for recommendation to the Court selected CJA attorney requests for expert, investigator, and other services as well as requests for interim billing. The CJARC assists in training the CJA Panel and provides support for such other CJA Panel-related duties assigned by the FPD and the CJA Standing Committee. Jennifer will be involved in projects that cross over between the FPD and CJA, including planning and preparing for local training and pursuing diversity initiatives for both FPD and the CJA. Jennifer will also be responsible for creating our first formalized mentoring program to increase the pool of qualified applicants to our panel.


Seattle AFD Christopher Sanders appointed to the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission!

Congratulation to Chris who was appointed by Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst and the Washington State Supreme Court. The commission seeks to foster and support a bias-free system of justice through CLEs, reports, and other educational tools which are designed to inform the judiciary, stakeholders within the justice system, and the public. This appointment comes with a two-year term. Chris states that ‘the appointment is deeply humbling to me.’ Most of the current members are sitting judges and justices, academics and other various members of the legal community across the State of Washington. In addition, Chris will graduate this August from the National Leadership Institute!


Meet our Seattle Based Summer Interns/Legal Externs!

Sophia Jorgenson is a rising junior at the University of Washington studying economics and political science. At UW she is a member of the Mock Trial team and spends her free time, running, sailing, and reading. Next year she will be spending the year abroad studying at King’s College in London. Welcome Sophia!

Valentina Guy is a Law, Societies, and Justice major at the University of Washington. Some of her favorite pastimes are reading, watching documentaries, and hiking. Valentina is considering law school in the future. She is originally from Yakima, WA so her upbringing has a lot to do with her heart to serve marginalized communities. She discovered her passion for social justice issues in the criminal legal system through her school coursework and is eager to apply her knowledge in any way possible this summer. Welcome Valentina!

Sam Bailey grew up in Seattle and is an incoming sophomore at Wesleyan University. Sam is studying in the College of Social Studies (an interdisciplinary major focusing on the intersection between History, Economics, Government, and Social Theory). Sam is passionate about law and is interested in its intersection with civil and human rights. In that vein, Sam has also worked to broaden his awareness about social justice by organizing panels, lectures, and demonstrations within his local community. This culminated with radio interviews about Net Neutrality and a 750+ student walkout surrounding gun control. Sam was captain of his high school Mock Trial team and is currently on the Wesleyan Debate Society. Sam enjoys playing the clarinet and saxophone, as well as learning how to cook. Welcome Sam!

Willa Osborn: I am a rising 2L Gates Public Service Law Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law. Before attending law school, I studied cultural anthropology at Seattle University with a focus on the intersection between the mental health and criminal legal systems, and then worked as the Pro Bono Fellow at Foster Pepper and intern at the Seattle Clemency Project. I am pursuing a career in public defense, and hope to use my legal education to advocate for those with mental illness. Welcome Willa!

Claire Postman: I am a rising 2L at Columbia Law School. At Columbia, I am involved with the Native American Law Students Association moot court competition and the Prison Healthcare Initiative. I will also be joining the Columbia Law Review as a staff editor in the fall. Before law school, I worked as a research assistant and health analyst at Mathematica, a policy research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My work there focused on initiatives to improve health care costs, quality, and access for people with Medicare and Medicaid. I graduated from Brown University in 2015 with an A.B. in Community Health. Welcome Claire!

Shiyun Chen: My name is Shiyun Chen and I am a rising 2L at University of Washington School of Law. I became very involved in the criminal justice system when I was in the Social Work program at Columbia University. I worked as a social worker in public defender offices using a holistic defense model, which provides clients with legal assistance as well as services in mental health, substance abuse, education, employment, housing, and other programs necessary for rehabilitation. The criminal justice system can be extremely oppressive and perpetuate the vicious cycle of poverty and social immobility. Fortunately, there are many passionate public defenders who will not stop fighting the oppression of the criminal justice system against their clients. They inspire me to join the fight as a public defender against an unjust and oppressive system that does not aim to rehabilitate people. Even though there are more districts slowly moving towards a more treatment-oriented direction, there are still an immense amount of work left to do in the country. And that is why I chose the Federal Public Defender as my summer externship. Welcome Shiyun!

Aileen Tan: I am a 1L at Columbia Law School, where I am part of APALSA, the Asian group on campus, the Criminal Justice Network, and the Craft Beer Club. In my free time, I enjoy baking and vegetable farming. I am originally from Seattle and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Economics and Statistics. During undergraduate, I worked on research with Batson motions and interned at the Women’s Law Project, which prompted my interest in attending law school. Welcome Aileen!


Community News:


This past month, Seattle AFDs Corey Endo, Greg Geist and Jennifer Wellman participated, in conjunction with the probation department, US Attorney’s Office, South Seattle Community College, and the BOP in the BOP’s ‘Transitioning Out’ program. This program is for individuals getting ready to transition from incarceration to release.  Topics included: 1) Reentry Guide that was written in collaboration with the various stakeholders with hopes of making the transition from incarceration to release easier;  2) the First Step Act- and in particular compassionate release and good time credits; 3) a collaborative warrants initiative with the US Attorney’s Office that aims to minimize the collateral impact of warrants on programming and transitional opportunities for persons incarcerated; 4) a discussion regarding how to be successful on supervision – from the perspective of the probation department and an individual who completed Supervised Release; and lastly 5) options for further education and employment through community colleges.  The Federal Public Defender’s Office was honored to participate in this program and appreciates the collaborative effort by various stakeholders to see each other as community partners who want incarcerated individuals to succeed in their reentry plan.


Tacoma AFD Job Annoucement:


The Federal Public Defender Office for the Western District of Washington is seeking applicants for a full-time Assistant Federal Defender in their Tacoma office. The office operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act to provide defense services in federal criminal cases and related matters by appointment from the court. Assistant Federal Defenders provide legal representation for indigent persons charged with criminal offenses or involved in post-conviction proceedings in United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth

Circuit. Our office is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age.


Salary: This position has a starting salary range of $67,816 - $159,120. Salary will be based on professional attorney experience with a minimum of three years. Compensation includes generous federal government benefits, paid vacation, sick leave and holidays. Salary is paid bi- weekly and payable only by direct deposit.


Responsibilities: The AFD will immediately assume an active caseload and, represent clients in serious criminal cases in the U.S. District and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This representation includes managing cases at various stages of litigation; preparing pleadings, briefs and motions; appearing on behalf of the client in court hearings and at other related proceedings; developing litigation strategies; meeting with clients, experts, witnesses,

family members and other duties as assigned.


Requirements: Applicants must be licensed attorneys in good standing with a federal and state bar, have criminal defense trial and sentencing experience, and significant writing experience. Attorneys not licensed in the state of Washington must seek admission to the Washington state bar within one year. Applicants should be available to start no later than September 30, 2019 and be able to travel.


Qualifications: To qualify, an applicant must be a US citizen or a documented alien who meets the criteria for employment in the Judiciary. See https://www.uscourts.gov/careers/search-judiciary-jobs/citizenship-requirementsemployment-judiciary.


Selection Criteria: The candidate selected will have a demonstrated commitment toward quality representation and will have recent, substantial criminal defense experience. A proven reputation for integrity, teamwork and effective organizational and prioritization skills are important considerations. Spanish fluency is a plus. Essential for this position are the abilities to manage a substantial caseload, travel, and work flexible hours.


Applications: Qualified persons may apply by submitting a letter of interest, resume, and two work references (including their names, addresses and telephone numbers) no later than July 19, 2019. Submit applications by email only :


Michael Filipovic

Federal Public Defender

Attn. Human Resource



This job posting can also be found here










Archive Date: 
June, 2019