Criminal Appeals

Ms. Dalton is experienced in successfully handling criminal appeals.  If you believe you or someone you care about has been wrongfully convicted of a crime, options may be available to you.  Depending on the court where the conviction took place, when the conviction occurred, and the circumstances of the conviction, relief at the appeals court level may be available.  Ms. Dalton’s substantial experience as an aggressive trial lawyer and her superior legal analysis and writing skills allow her to engage in a thorough review of the circumstances of the case and evaluate whether appeal is an option.  If appeal is allowed under the law, or there is a good chance that an appeal or other post-conviction relief might be available, we undertake a careful review of the court records, including obtaining transcripts of the trial or other hearings, and use a thorough knowledge of the law to find issues that could result in getting a chance at a new trial or in simply overturning the conviction and having the charges dismissed.

Ms. Dalton recently appeared before the Washington Supreme Court, litigating an issue she brought in the trial court and asking the court to extend a statutory defense to rape into the civil context of a sexual assault protection order.  In Washington, RCW 9A.44.030 provides that:

“In any prosecution under this chapter in which lack of consent is based solely upon the victim’s mental incapacity or upon the victim’s being physically helpless, it is a defense which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the offense the defendant reasonably believed that the victim was not mentally incapacitated and/or physically helpless.”

Ms. Dalton asked the trial court to allow her client to present a defense of reasonable belief in the alleged victim’s ability to consent as a defense to the allegation of rape by intoxication.

Unfortunately, for those accused in a civil context, who are the targets of a petition for a sexual assault protection order, the trial court has not been required to make this defense available.  Although currently under appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court, as the law stands in Washington Division Two courts, Ms. Dalton’s work on the issue requires lower courts to allow this defense in a civil proceeding.

Ms. Dalton’s team won on the issue that Ms. Dalton brought in the trial court, when the trial court’s refusal to allow the defense was brought to the Washington Court of Appeals, Division Two.  See the published opinion here.  However, the Petitioner sought review in the Supreme Court and the matter is currently awaiting a decision.  See video of oral argument here.

In matters of post-conviction relief, time is often of the essence, so don’t delay in contacting a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. If you need a detailed and aggressive defense, call us anytime at 360-213-0013. We understand that a criminal conviction can carry life changing potential consequences, and we want to help you seek a bright future.