• Jeffrey D. Barrar P.S. | Vancouver Defenders

    Jeffrey D. Barrar P.S. | Vancouver Defenders

  • Jeffrey D. Barrar P.S. | Vancouver Defenders

    Jeffrey D. Barrar P.S. | Vancouver Defenders

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Criminal Law

Jeffrey D. Barrar P.S. has grown to become the largest criminal defense firm in Southwest Washington. The firm has public contracts to represent indigent defendants in felony and misdemeanor cases and also represents privately retained clients.

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New on the Barrar Law blog...

Barrar, Kauffman convince jurors fatal shooting was accidental

Attorneys Jeff Barrar and Katie Kauffman successfully defended a client charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife. On Dec. 6, a jury agreed with the defense that the shooting was not intentional and convicted the client on a lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter.

Jurors also acquitted the client, Todd Marjama Jr., on a charge of first-degree assault. That felony charge was because the client’s young daughter had been with her mother when her mother was shot behind a closed bathroom door.

There was no evidence the client knew his daughter had been in the bathroom.

Trial began Nov. 26 in Clark County Superior Court. Jurors heard from 28 witnesses over seven days of testimony.  The 12 jurors deliberated approximately five hours on Dec. 6 before reaching a verdict.

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Client who admitted using drugs acquitted of DUI

A chronic backlog at state crime labs may have benefitted a client who was found not guilty of DUI at his Nov. 9 trial in Clark County District Court.

When our client was stopped July 4 for erratic driving, he agreed to a blood test.

He did not agree to waive his right to a speedy trial, however, and both the deputy prosecutor and arresting officer told jurors at trial they hadn’t yet received the results.

Instead of going to trial without the results, the prosecutor could have dismissed the case and refiled it after receiving them.

Attorney Ross Meyers encouraged jurors to consider why a prosecutor would go to trial without the test results.

It’s the prosecution’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, he said during his closing argument. The single most important piece of evidence was left out.

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Kauffman wins felony assault trial

A jury unanimously agreed this week with Katie Kauffman that her client was acting in self-defense when he stabbed a neighbor, and found him not guilty of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Trial began in Clark County Superior Court on Nov. 13. The 12 jurors deliberated five hours on Nov. 15 before returning a verdict.

If convicted of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, Kauffman’s client would have faced 13 to 21 months in prison.

Kauffman was assisted at trial by attorney Gregger Highberg.

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Client who admitted using drugs acquitted of DUI

A chronic backlog at state crime labs may have benefitted a client who was found not guilty of DUI at his Nov. 9 trial in Clark County District Court.

When our client was stopped July 4 for erratic driving, he agreed to a blood test.

He did not agree to waive his right to a speedy trial, however, and both the deputy prosecutor and arresting officer told jurors at trial they hadn’t yet received the results.

Instead of going to trial without the results, the prosecutor could have dismissed the case and refiled it after receiving them.

Attorney Ross Meyers encouraged jurors to consider why a prosecutor would go to trial without the test results.

It’s the prosecution’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, he said during his closing argument. The single most important piece of evidence was left out.

The six-member jury deliberated approximately 90 minutes before unanimously voting to acquit.

Driving under the influence, a gross misdemeanor, carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. Meyers' client would have also had his driver’s license suspended for 90 days had he been convicted.

The Washington State Patrol trooper who made the arrest testified the client admitted he’d used methamphetamine and marijuana about 12 hours earlier but said he didn’t feel impaired.

The trooper said he made the traffic stop because the client was speeding, didn’t signal before a lane change and veered a few times onto the shoulder of the highway. He said the client had mixed results on field sobriety tests, something Meyers told jurors could be attributed to nerves. And his client’s eyes, noted by the trooper to be bloodshot and watery, could have appeared that way because he hadn’t got a good night’s sleep.

Meyers emphasized to the jury that his client, who was transported to Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital to have his blood drawn, wasn’t exhibiting any signs of stimulant abuse. His heart rate, blood pressure and temperature were all normal.

The only way to know for certain whether he was under the influence was the blood test, Meyers said.

Both the prosecutor and trooper told jurors it takes months to get results.

In October, the Department of Justice awarded $3.5 million in grants to address backlogs at Washington state crime labs. DNA testing was singled out as a priority, but one grant, worth $250,000, was specifically for additional equipment and staff at the Washington State Patrol Toxicology Lab.

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Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.: Vancouver Defenders Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.
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