Case, Staff News, Community & Intern News
Tacoma AFD Heather Carroll and Tacoma paralegal Julie Valencia successfully guided Mr. L to a sentence well below the government’s and probation’s recommendation. Mr. L pled to a drug trafficking offense that occurred in late 2019. He spent about 7 months in custody after his arrest, but was released on bond during the height of COVID. After his release, Mr. L worked incredibly hard to set himself on a different path. He completed the apprenticeship at his union and became a journeyman. He had zero violations on Pre-Trial Services (PTS) for the 19 months prior to his sentencing. He spent time with his young daughter and wife, and the couple are expecting their second daughter in July. At sentencing, Judge Settle agreed with Mr. L that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Lopez allowed the court to go below the 5-year mandatory minimum. Mr. L spoke movingly about his difficult childhood, and the difference to the life he was now leading. He talked about connecting with a small church in his town, and the support and connection he got from his family, friends, co-workers, and his church community. He was realistic about the strain that custodial time would put on his marriage and family.
Judge Settle sentenced Mr. L to 12 months and a day and 5 years of supervised release (SR), meaning Mr. L only has a few months left to serve. At the end of the hearing, while waiting for the judgment to be reviewed, Judge Settle addressed Mr. L, commented on the number of supporters in the courtroom and referenced a biblical verse about a “cloud of witnesses”. Here’s the full verse: Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
Congrats to our client and his defense team!
In December of 2021, the Washington State Supreme Court adopted GR 39, which put in place a uniform process and set of forms for individuals to petition for relief from legal financial obligations (LFOs) imposed by any court in Washington. After probation brought up Mr. W’s failure to pay on a state district court payment plan, Tacoma AFD Heather Carroll, with assists from Tacoma paralegal Carolynn Cohn, Tacoma receptionist Maritza Pitot, Tacoma branch manager Jessica Cvitanovic, and undergrad intern Reenah Gwak set to work filing GR 39 petitions with the 6 district and municipal courts where Mr. W had an outstanding LFO balance. So far the team has successfully petitioned various district and municipal courts to forgive about $10,000 of the $14,000 outstanding LFOs. Petitions are pending for the balance! Next up, filing in the two superior courts where Mr. W has an outstanding balance of about $32,000. Amazing work by all!
Welcome Colin Fieman, Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington!
On March 1, 2022, Colin Fieman was sworn in as interim Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington by Chief United States District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez. Colin will serve as the permanent Federal Defender once his security clearance is completed. Colin is deeply honored to have been selected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for this position and he looks forward to working with our district’s judges, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Probation Department, and the entire court community to advance the cause of justice on behalf of the FPD’s clients and the community at large.
Colin will lead a staff of 54 in Seattle and Tacoma. He is charged with ensuring that indigent individuals who are federally charged in the Western District receive high quality legal representation and personal support in their cases. This includes leadership of the FPD office and managing the district’s CJA program, which coordinates representation by private attorneys for individuals in cases where FPD has a conflict of interest.
Colin is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College and the National Forensic College. He has been an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Tacoma FPD Office since 2002 and the FPD Senior Litigator since 2018. Before joining the FPD Colin was the public defender for the State of Yap, part of the Federated States of Micronesia. There, in addition to administering the defender office and representing clients, he implemented a public information campaign on legal rights and resources for local residents, helped train Yapese “trial advocates” to represent individuals who have been charged in court, and advocated for the renovation of the state’s detention facilities.
Before working in Yap, Colin was a staff attorney with the University of Georgia Law School Legal Aid and Defender Clinic. There, he represented those charged with serious felonies in conjunction with law students participating in the clinic. Colin was responsible for supervising and training students in client interviewing, case investigation, and trial practice.
Colin started his legal career with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he served in the Special Prosecutions Unit investigating and prosecuting official corruption and fraud cases. He graduated from the Columbia School of Law in 1990, where he directed the Appellate Moot Court Program and was the submissions editor for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.
We welcome Colin as our new Defender and look forward to his leadership!
On March 2nd, our office gathered to celebrate Colin as our new Defender, below are some photos from the event:
Federal Defender’s Office for the Western District of Washington Hires our New Administrative Officer!
Madeline Scarp has joined the office as our new Administrative Officer. Madeline worked in our office from 2014-2017 as a Financial Administrator before joining the Oregon Federal Defender’s Office, and she is thrilled to be returning to Western Washington. Madeline was on special assignment this past year to the Defender Services Office (DSO) working on a host of projects and issues involving work measurement and budgeting, as well as supporting the post-McGirt litigation in Oklahoma and working on resources for the “January 6” cases in
Washington, D.C. She’s had a significant training and mentoring role at DSO, and has expertise in the complex regulations, programs and analytics that are a big part of the AdO job. Madeline is passionate about our mission and has found innovative ways to help clients while working in Oregon and at the DSO, and she has a demonstrated commitment to advancing equity and inclusion both within defender programs and systemically. Madeline will have many administrative responsibilities for the entire office and directly supervise our Admin and Operations staff. We’re delighted to have her back!
Corey Endo is Promoted to First Assistant!
Corey Endo has been selected as our new First Assistant Federal Defender. Corey joined the office in 2005 as a Research and Writing Attorney before transitioning to a trial attorney in 2011. Among many activities and accomplishments, Corey is a member of the DREAM Court Executive Committee, she has served on the local criminal courts rules committee, been active with the Federal Bar Association, and achieved many notable legal victories for our clients. Long one of our “go to” people for strategizing, advice, editing, encouragement, and empathy, Corey is also widely respected by our judges and the court community. As First Assistant, Corey will have a central role in managing the office, establishing and implementing office policies and projects, and supervising trial attorneys and other staff, in addition to continuing to carry her own caseload and represent clients.
Seattle AFD Dennis Carroll is our New Senior Litigator!
Dennis joined the office in 2008 after serving with The Defender Association and the Washington Appellate Project. Dennis has been a leader on many major initiatives for the office and scores of clients, including the “Drugs Minus Two” project, First Step Act reduction cases, Blake reviews, and compassionate release motions. Dennis’s colleagues routinely rely on him for wise counsel and personal support. As Senior Litigator, Dennis’s responsibilities will include acting as lead counsel on new legal initiatives, supervising attorney training, assisting the CJA panel with legal issues, and advising the Federal Defender on administrative and legal issues that affect the office and its mission.
Former Seattle AFD Kyana Givens was appointed the next Federal Defender for Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Read all about her appointment here!
Jesse McKnight, who interned with us in Spring of 2021 during his 3L year at SU, is a public defender at King County DPD, SCRAP division, and he is excited to report that he just won his first jury trial. Congrats Jesse!