• 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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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...

Back-to-back wins for Askanas

Isabelle Askanas got a back-to-back wins in Clark County District Court last week. On Sept. 8 she got a client acquitted of assault and malicious mischief and on Sept. 9 she won a quick not-guilty verdict for a client charged with racing.

Askanas and Eliza Haggerty represented a client who was cited last year by a Clark County sheriff’s deputy who had been parked near Northeast 55th Avenue and Northeast Padden Parkway. About 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2021, the deputy wrote that two vehicles passed him traveling east on Padden Parkway “at a high rate of speed.” Both vehicles stopped at a red light, with the deputy now behind them. The deputy wrote that when the light turned green, “both vehicles’ wheels squeeled and the vehicles accelerated in a speed contest.”

The deputy pulled over both drivers and cited each for racing, a type of reckless driving, which is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

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Anderson, Askansas win felony DV trial

Attorneys Neil Anderson and Isabelle Askanas won a domestic violence trial this week in Clark County Superior Court for a client charged with felony harassment and misdemeanor assault.

The client was arrested last year after a woman he’d recently met called 911 and told responding Vancouver police officers that our client had forcefully shoved her and threatened to kill her with her own gun. 

A conviction would have carried a sentence of up to eight months in jail.

The client testified that he met the woman through an online dating site. About a week after they met she picked him up in Portland and brought him home to Vancouver. He said they had got into an argument because he wanted her to drive him home, and she wanted him to stay at her residence. He said it was late, and after she told him she wasn’t going to drive him home, she said she was going outside. It was a cold October evening and he said he didn’t want her to go outside because she was barefoot and wearing only a nightgown.

A video from an interior security camera, which a deputy prosecuting attorney told jurors showed our client pushing the alleged victim, was really him trying to keep her from going out in the cold, he said. He did not intend to hurt her.

The client also testified he never threatened to shoot her. He was calm on the stand, even when the deputy prosecutor sarcastically asked if his memory of events was clearer now than it was ten months ago.

“Yes, because I’m fighting for my freedom now,” he replied.

As Anderson told jurors during closing arguments on Aug. 9, they didn’t just have two versions of what happened that October night: they had three.

The first version was what the alleged victim testified to at trial. The second version was his client’s and the third was what the alleged victim told responding police officers.

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Askanas, Swisher win District Court trial

Isabelle Askanas and Matthew Swisher won a trial Sept. 8 for a client charged with misdemeanor assault and malicious mischief.

A Clark County District Court jury deliberated about 40 minutes before returning not-guilty verdicts on charges of fourth-degree assault and third-degree malicious mischief, both gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail.

At the time of his arrest, the client was living in the alleged victim’s house. She was upset that he had a friend over and went to his bedroom to ask him when he was going to move out. She said the client got upset and shoved her so hard she fell down and got hurt. She also said he broke off a door knob, which was why he was charged with malicious mischief.

At the time of the client’s arrest, the homeowner told police officers that she had wanted the client to move out of her house and she even hesitated acknowledging that he had been living there because she knew that if he had established residency it would be more difficult to get him to move out. One officer even noted that both the client and alleged victim appeared to be giving “self-serving” statements about what happened.

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Three attorneys, two hung juries and -- finally -- one dismissal

A Clark County deputy prosecutor who was told by two different juries his case wasn’t strong enough to warrant a conviction finally dismissed a felony theft charge this month against our client, but only after his supervisor was notified of the flaws in his case.

Our client, a home health aide with no criminal history, was accused in March 2021 of stealing $6,750 from an elderly client. She was charged with one count of theft from a vulnerable adult in the first degree, a class B felony. She has been unable to work while the case was pending.

The case went to trial twice in Clark County Superior Court. Attorney Katie Kauffman and Marina Spencer handled the first trial, in September 2021. Spencer and attorney Owen Sutanto handled the second trial, which was in May.

Each trial lasted one week and was declared a mistrial after the juries failed to reach an unanimous decision.

The deputy prosecutor was preparing to take the case to trial a third time, but Spencer sent a lengthy email to one of the deputy prosecutor’s supervisors, detailing the negative feedback provided from jurors.

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