Ethics 2022: To Plead or Not Plead

More info coming soon!

Full Schedule

Report CLE Credits here

Course Materials:

The Harmful Legacy of Pleas. Presented by Dan Canon (Civil Right Attorney/ Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville in Kentucky)  – Keynote Speaker 

The Harmful Legacy of Pleas PowerPoint

Tackling Bias in Jury Selection: Putting GR 37 to Work. Presented by Hong Tran (The Defender Association Division of the King County Department of Public Defense (DPD)) , Jesse Dubow (DPD at Northwest Defenders), Mahalia Kahsay King County DPD), Krista Van Amerongen (The Whatcom County Public Defender Office), Caleb Cunningham (Kitsap County Office of Public Defense) ; Moderated by Michael Schueler (Supervisor for Misdemeanor Lawyers in Seattle Municipal Court)

Tackling Bias in Jury Selection Materials

What Matters Most: Interviewing and Counseling the Parent Client. Presented by Shaul Goldberg (Attorney)

Practical Tips for Criminal Defenders with Parent-Clients Facing Incarceration

What Matters Most PowerPoint

When to Say No: Some Random Thoughts on Keeping Your License. Presented by Ken Kagan (Washington State Attorney)

When is it Proper to Investigate and Raise the Issue of Immigration Status? Presented by Sarah Hudson (Washington Defender Association (WDA)), Rosario Daza (WDA) , Sheri Oertel (WDA)

WDAIP Ethics 2022 PowerPoint

Pushing Back- Getting the Resources You Need to Prepare Your Case for Trial or Plea. Presented by Sheri Oertel (WDA) , Victoria Blumhorst (Spokane County, Counsel Defense 

Pushing Back Materials

Pushing Back PowerPoint

Presenter Biographies 

Victoria Blumhorst began her legal career with the Spokane County Public Defender’s Office in 2006. She worked in the misdemeanor unit for a little over a year before being promoted to the felony unit. In 2019 Ms. Blumhorst moved to the conflict office for Spokane County, Counsel Defense, where she now serves as the Director. During her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, son, and their three dogs.  

Dan Canon is a civil rights attorney and the author of Pleading Out: How Plea Bargaining Creates a Permanent Criminal Class. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where he teaches on the history and challenges of the plea system. Dan is best known as lead counsel for the Kentucky plaintiffs in the landmark Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, (same sex couples right to marry is guaranteed by the Constitution), counsel for the plaintiffs in the pioneering Kentucky and Indiana marriage equality cases of Bourke v. Beshear, Love v. Beshear, and Love v. Pence, counsel in Miller v. Davis, the highly publicized case in which plaintiffs were refused marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky, and counsel for the protesters in Nwanguma v. Trump. He is also counsel in a number of high-profile civil and constitutional rights cases involving wrongful convictions, inmates’ rights, abuse and overreach by law enforcement, and academic freedom 

Caleb Cunningham is a public defender in Kitsap County Office of Public Defense. 

Jesse Dubow is a senior attorney at DPD and has practiced at Northwest Defenders since 2007. He received a BA in philosophy from Grinnell College in 2003 and graduated from Cornell Law School in 2006. He began his career at the New Hampshire Public Defender before moving to Northwest Defenders in 2007. He is in the felony until where he has tried over 70 cases to verdict, including numerous homicides, sex cases, and other serious cases. He was co-counsel on remand in a homicide case, where they successfully litigated a motion for new trial when the Supreme Court remanded to the trial court to determine whether implicit racial bias may have affected jury deliberations.  

Sarah Hudson is an Immigration Resource Attorney at WDA. Sarah graduated from law school in San Diego and continued to explore her interest in immigration law by working with a non-profit focusing on defensive asylum cases. As a military spouse, she has lived in many places and explored different areas of law. Most recently, Sarah was a public defender and uses that experience to assist other defense attorneys with issues related to the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. 

Mahalia Kahsay has been a public defender in King County DPD since 2019. She currently practices at the King County South District Court in Kent, and previously worked in the Seattle Municipal Court. Having spent most of her career practicing under COVID, she’s eagerly resumed jury trials this summer and looks forward to many more as the courts fully open.  

Ken Kagan represents clients and attorneys in both disciplinary and legal malpractice related issues. His practice also includes counseling clients and attorneys on the issues of ethics [with particular emphasis on compliance with applicable Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs)] and legal malpractice (standard of care), generally, and conflicts of interest, in particular.  

Mr. Kagan also represents law school graduates and lawyers seeking admission from other states whose applications trigger investigations and hearings before the Washington State Bar Association’s Character and Fitness Board.

 Mr. Kagan is retained as counsel on several new cases involving ethics and professional liability each month, and has been since he re-entered the private practice of law in 1996 (i.e., upon his departure from his position as Disciplinary Counsel with the Washington State Bar Association, effective December 31, 1995). He has been accepted and testified as an expert in multiple civil cases involving lawyer conduct.  Mr. Kagan is also a former public defender, having worked for The Defender Association from 1981 to 1985, handling cases at the trial and appellate levels. Two of his criminal appellate wins include Seattle v. Mesiani, 110 Wn.2d 454, 755 P.2d 775 (1988) [which ended DUI roadblocks in Washington] and Seattle v. Camby, 104 Wn.2d 49, 701 P.2d 499 (1985) [an interesting “fighting words” case]. In addition, Mr. Kagan is a frequent lecturer at ethics-related CLEs. 

Sheri Oertel Is the WDA Felony Resource Attorney. She obtained her law degree from the University of Idaho College of Law. She was a prosecutor for 5-6 years, gaining significant insight and training skills. Afterwards, Sheri has been doing public defense work, prior to coming to WDA. Sheri has taught CLE presentations previously. As a public defense attorney, she has won dismissals in hard fought areas that are typically lost to defense: Felony Knapstad motions; speedy trial violations (dismissal with prejudice); a Brady violation (with prejudice); and a motion for disqualification of the prosecutor and his entire office. Most recently while in practice, her ethical duty to her client demanded a lengthy investigation, many experts, and a hard fight to use ER 413 and the evidence collected in an attempted murder case. She won multiple motions, and the ER 413 motion, allowing her to negotiate a plea deal for her client of malicious mischief 3, and disorderly conduct, dismissing the attempted murder and 9 other class A and B felonies. Sheri enjoys training other attorneys in legal distinctions and ethical duties that give them and advantage, and many other areas of law.  

Michael Schueler has been a Public Defender in Washington since 2014.  He currently supervises misdemeanor lawyers in Seattle Municipal Court.  He previously practiced as a felony trial attorney with King County DPD and in Cowlitz County as a misdemeanor and felony trial attorney.  He was co-counsel on City of Seattle v. Erickson, a Batson case that helped push GR 37 forward in Washington and has lectured on this toic to criminal and civil practitioners, as well as judges in Washington and New Jersey. 

Hong Tran is a public defender with The Defender Association Division of the King County Department of Public Defense. She currently works in TDAD’s Involuntary Civil Commitment Unit. Prior to joining the King County Office of Public Defense, she worked as a civil legal services lawyer in Washington, North Carolina, and Utah.  

Ms. Tran has extensive litigation experience, trying 100+ civil and criminal cases to verdict. She has also authored articles extolling the need for greater collaboration between public defenders and civil legal services lawyers and strategies for achieving greater jury pool diversity. She has further presented at CLEs on a wide range of topics including jury pool diversity, most recently serving as a presenter at New York State’s Judicial Commission Jury Summit on the issue of implicit bias and jury pool diversity. 

Krista Van Amerongen is a public defender with the Whatcom County Public Defender Office.  

Rosario Daza is an Immigration Resource Attorney at WDA. Rosario Daza co-founded the Washington Immigration Defense Group, where she represented clients seeking lawful immigration status and defending against deportation.  She litigated cases in the immigration courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Washington criminal courts.  Fluent in Spanish, Rosario worked as a staff attorney at the Northwest Justice Project (NJP) and at Disability Rights Washington (DRW).  At NJP, she represented sexual abuse survivors in family law and immigration matters.  At DRW, she provided technical assistance to constituents and their defense counsel.  Before graduating from the University of Washington School of Law, Rosario was a journalist covering social justice issues, and part of a team that was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize.  After law school, she clerked for the Hon. Richard B. Sanders (Ret.) of the Washington Supreme Court, and the Hon. Mary Kay Becker (Ret.) of the Washington Court of Appeals, Division One, working on nearly 100 appellate cases.