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Washington Court Upholds Firearm Charge Conviction Due to Cumulative Evidence

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2019 | Evidence

If you face charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, it is essential to retain an attorney that will seek the prohibition of any evidence that should not be admitted against you at trial. Recently, a Washington appellate court upheld a defendant’s conviction, finding that his attorney’s failure to object to the state’s admission of written statements regarding his alleged firearm crimes did not constitute a prejudicial error. If you face charges of a weapons crime, you should meet with a skilled Washington weapons charge defense attorney who will fight vigorously to preclude any evidence the state should not be permitted to introduce against you.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Crime and Investigation

Reportedly, the defendant stayed at his brother’s apartment on occasion. The defendant did not have a key to the apartment and was only permitted in the apartment with his brother’s permission. The defendant was one of few people who knew his brother owned a gun and where it was stored. The defendant’s brother came home one evening to find his apartment window broken and his gun missing. He contacted the police and advised them as to what had occurred, and also claimed that his brother was the likely suspect. He provided the police with a written statement as well. The defendant allegedly texted his brother, asking why he was a suspect and stating he was only borrowing the gun and intended to return it.

Allegedly, the defendant’s brother found the gun in a plastic bag on the handle of his front door a few weeks later. He contacted the police and provided them with a second written statement. The defendant was subsequently charged with and convicted of first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm, and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel due to his failure to object to the introduction of his brother’s written statements at trial. On appeal, the court affirmed.

Assessing the Defendant’s Attorney’s Failure to Object to the Admission of Written Statements

On appeal, the court noted that the defendant’s brother’s testimony at trial was consistent with the information in his written statements. His written statements were entered into evidence by the prosecution, without objection. Further, the investigating officer testified regarding the information she received from the defendant’s brother during both occasions when he contacted the police. The court stated that to determine whether the defendant’s attorney’s failure to object to the admission of the written statements constituted ineffective counsel depended, in part, on whether the failure resulted in prejudice to the defendant. Here, the court found that to the extent the defendant’s attorney erred in failing to object to the statements, the error was not prejudicial, as the information contained in the statements was already presented to the jury in the form of the testimony of the defendant’s brother and the investigating officer. The court held that the unnecessary introduction of cumulative evidence did not constitute a reversible error. Thus, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction.

Consult a Skilled Washington Weapons Charge Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a weapons crime, you should consult a skilled weapons charge defense attorney to assess the facts of your case and develop a plan of action to help you seek a favorable outcome.  The experienced criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Smith and White will work diligently on your behalf to help you retain your rights. Contact us at 253-363-8662 or through our online form to schedule a meeting.