• 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...

Council in no rush to make decision on indigent defense proposal

The Clark County Council heard more details Wednesday about a proposal to hire two defense attorneys to help with the felony indigent caseload, but didn’t reach any type of agreement.

Chairman Marc Boldt said they will continue the conversation during their Aug. 23 board time meeting.

Indigent Defense Manager Ann Christian and Bob Stevens, the county's director of general services, have proposed hiring two staff defense attorneys who, with Indigent Defense Coordinator Angela Colaiuta, would do felony work. They would have one part-time legal assistant. Stevens said Wednesday that Colaiuta would only spend a quarter of her time handling cases, and together the three attorneys would account for 14 percent of the felony caseload. 

Wednesday’s work session was scheduled after councilors appeared to be caught off-guard by the original request and wanted more information, even after an initial discussion. About a dozen attorneys who have contracts with the county showed up to the work session, and the few who spoke -- Jeff Sowder, Heather Carroll and Therese Lavallee -- assured the councilors that, contrary to what they’ve been told by Christian and Stevens, there are plenty of attorneys willing to do the work.

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Kauffman wins another "not guilty" verdict

Attorney Katie Kauffman won an acquittal this week for a client and the stakes were extra high, as a criminal conviction could have created immigration problems for her client. 

A jury deliberated about 30 minutes on Aug. 3 at the end of a daylong trial in Clark County District Court. 

Kauffman's client was charged with assault in the fourth degree domestic violence, a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. It's also an offense for which a person can be deported, and would have precluded her client from becoming a U.S. citizen. 

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Boss won a trial

Attorney Jeffrey Barrar recently won a trial in Clark County District Court.

A jury needed only about 15 minutes to deliberate before unanimously voting to acquit Barrar’s client of fourth-degree assault domestic violence, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

About three months ago, Barrar’s client’s girlfriend called 911 and told a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy that she had been assaulted by her boyfriend, who was arrested and had to spend the weekend in the Clark County Jail before he could see a judge and be released pending trial.

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Council schedules work session to discuss creating public defender's office

Update: At the request of county staff, the work session has been set over one week, to 1 p.m. Aug. 16 in conference room 698 at the Public Service Center.

The Clark County Council has scheduled a work session to further explore the idea of creating a small public defender's office. 

The session, which is open to the public, will be 1 p.m. Aug. 9 in conference room 698 at the Public Service Center. Councilors don't typically take public testimony at work sessions. Instead, it's a time for them to ask questions of staff members. 

Defense attorneys who have contracts with the county to represent people who qualify for court-appointed counsel were initially told July 12 that the council was expected to approve the proposal and it would be effective Sept. 1. The issue hadn't yet been discussed with the council, however, and during a July 19 meeting the five members of the board said they wanted a work session and hear more about the proposal before advancing it to a public hearing and putting it to a vote. 

The Columbian recently had an article on the proposal, and Chairman Marc Boldt said he and other councilors are wary of creating new staff positions.

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