News & Updates

National Public Defense Week: Honoring 2018 WDA Award Winners
March 21, 2018 | WDA

It is an honor to recognize WDA’s 2018 award recipients as a part of this year’s National Public Defense Week activities.  The honorees officially will be presented their awards on April 27, 2018 at the 2018 Defender Conference at Sun Mountain Lodge, but it is fitting to celebrate their accomplishments during this week celebrating the anniversary of the Gideon decision.  Each of the award winners has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to public defense in Washington both through their lifetime work and/or efforts on individual cases and policy work.

President’s Awards:

  • Verna Hochstrasser for her lifelong public defense work as a King County public defense investigator.
  • Ronald Sergi for his lifelong public defense work and his efforts to establish and support the Mason County Public Defender office.

Certificates of Recognition for Special Success or Effort:

  • Nicole Beges of the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel for her work in overturning the City of Tacoma’s anti-camping ordinance which led to a dismissal not only in her own client’s case, but in 40 others as well.
  • David Bustamante of the Grant County Public Defender for his work in assisting clients even after their trials are over, which provoked the prosecutor’s office to file a motion to find his efforts to help his clients created an “equal protection” violation, because his clients receive more devoted and time-consuming representation than other indigent defendants.
  • Katherine Hurley of the King County Department of Public Defense for her juvenile justice reform system efforts in King County relating to in-custody interrogations, age-appropriate Miranda warnings, and ending telephone charges for juvenile clients.
  • Anna Nordtvedt of the Spokane County Public Defender for her work in clearing a client of a vehicular homicide charge after she successfully argued that Washington State Patrol troopers made false statements to obtain search warrants.
  • Michael Vander Giessen of the Spokane County Public Defender for his work in Blomstrom, which held his clients are entitled to statutory writs of review because they lack an adequate remedy at law to challenge their pretrial release conditions and because their urinalysis testing requirements contravene article I, section 7 of the Washington State Constitution.

Our thanks and congratulations to all!