August News!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Case, Staff & Intern News



Case News:

Defense Team Secures Time-Served Sentence!

Amidst the unrest in 2020, Mr. T was charged with one count of threatening to destroy a police department building. From the outset it was clear that this was not a protest case. And for a myriad of reasons, Mr. T could not afford to go to prison either. The whole defense team – including Seattle paralegals Patricia Stordeur & Charlotte Ponikvar, FPD social worker Dan Potter-Engelskirger, and undergrad intern India Bock all pulled together to give Mr. T the support and defense plan that he needed to secure a time served sentence. Congrats to Mr. T and his defense team!


In December 2018, the Government charged G. with two counts of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The charges were based on a warrant that claimed G. was connected to a homicide. Seattle AFD Mohammad Hamoudi sought more information about the alleged murder weapon and the claimed connection to G. Despite its reliance on these suspicions – first to search G. and then to justify restrictive conditions of his release – the government resisted turning over this information. The defense conducted its own extensive investigation and filed motions to compel the Government to provide information. Defense counsel filed multiple motions to suppress the evidence and asked for a Franks hearing, at which they sought to prove that a detective provided false and/or misleading information to get the initial warrant to search G. The defense claimed that the detective misstated the strength of forensic evidence, intentionally or recklessly misidentified G in a photo depicting another Black man and misrepresented his criminal history. Ultimately, upon the government’s motion, Judge Jones dismissed the entire case against G. with prejudice.

This case was a team effort, with Tacoma investigator Michael Stortini, Seattle paralegals Patricia Stordeur, Charlotte Ponikvar & Suzie Strait and former Seattle investigator Chelsea Whittler working for over two years to help G. achieve justice. We are grateful for his trust and thrilled for his victory.

Staff News:

Seattle Hires Term Receptionist!

We are happy to announce that Rebeca Hernandez has joined our staff as a Term Receptionist for the Seattle office. Rebeca brings with her many years of customer service, including Supervisory and Specialty Material handling training. Rebeca, a California native, was raised in Washington. Moreover, thanks to her Guatemalan roots, she is fluent in English and Spanish, which will play an instrumental role in both the Operations group and our Spanish-speaking clients and callers. She is adept at juggling our busy phone duties and many other tasks, in addition to being friendly and graceful under pressure. Welcome Rebeca!


FPD Bids Farewell to Two Valued Employees

Seattle Paralegal Donna Maxwell:

This month, we heartfully celebrate the retirement of our esteemed colleague, Donna Maxwell, after more than 25 years of service with the Federal Public Defender. Donna’s years of dedication and compassion made such a difference in the lives of so many. She was a member of the original litigation team in the Kim Ho Ma case that successfully ended the indefinite detention of immigrants from countries without repatriation agreements with the United States. Upon retirement, Donna was the only member of the original litigation team still working with these immigration clients. We wish her a long and happy retirement. Congratulations and HAPPY RETIREMENT Donna!

Procurement Administrator Patrick Woodbury:

Pat’s last day in the office was July 30th.  Although he was only with us a short two and a half years, he will be missed for his calm demeanor, thoughtful approach and kindness to all. Patrick had a wealth of IT experience which was fortuitous for the office when COVID-19 hit and staff had to telework.  Thank you Patrick and good luck in the future!  

Intern News:

Summer 2021 Seattle intern Mikaila Smith, a 3L at the U of Chicago, will be clerking for California Supreme Justice Leondra R. Kruger after graduation and with Ninth Circuit Judge William Fletcher in 2023-24.



Frank Xiao who interned with the Seattle FPD after his 1L yr. at Harvard in the summer of 2016 has finished up his federal district court clerkship in California and is returning to White & Case LLP in New York.



Kyle Schneider who interned with the Seattle FPD after his 1L yr. at Stanford in summer of 2018 has just completed his clerkship with Chief D.C. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan and will next clerk with D.C. federal district judge James Boasberg.



Maya Itah who interned with the Seattle FPD after her 1L yr. at UW in summer of 2020 will be clerking for Div. II Washington State Court of Appeals Judge Rebecca Glasgow after graduation.



Olivia Glass who interned with the Seattle FPD after her 1L yr. at Stanford in summer of 2020 will be clerking for Sixth Circuit Judge R. Guy Cole after graduation.


Archive Date: 
August, 2021