A front-page article in the Sept. 19 edition of The Columbian, “ICE agents create a chill at courthouse,” was part of a three-day series about the uncertainty facing undocumented immigrants since President Donald Trump took office in January.
The article said courthouse arrests by immigration enforcement officers “have elicited harsh criticism from attorneys and judges who argue that the practice interferes with the criminal justice system.”
The article included an example of a defendant in a felony domestic violence case who was picked up by ICE agents at the Clark County Courthouse. We’ve had clients, who have no prior criminal history and who are charged with misdemeanors, been picked up by ICE agents at the courthouse this year.
Attorney Whitney Hawke won not-guilty verdicts this week for a client charged with two counts of violating a domestic violence no-contact order.
Hawke’s client and the alleged victim in the case share custody of a child. Hawke’s client lives near where her child’s father works, and in April she was pulled over by a Vancouver police officer because her vehicle had one headlight burnt out. The officer ran checks on people in the vehicle and discovered there was a no-contact order prohibiting the driver from being with the passenger. He arrested Hawke’s client for violating the order.
Two months later, a different Vancouver police officer stopped Hawke’s client, this time for failing to wear her seat belt. Again, her child’s father was in the car, and again she was arrested for violating the order. The child’s father had asked a judge to lift the order after the first arrest, but his request was denied.
At the Sept. 13 trial in Clark County District Court, a deputy prosecutor from the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center called the two VPD officers to testify. She did not call the alleged victim to the witness stand.