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Washington State Child Sex Abuse and Special Assault Defense Lawyers Experienced at Getting Your Life Back for You

Experienced Seattle, Washington Defense Attorneys Protecting Against False Allegations of Sexual Assault, Rape, Child Sex Abuse, Child Molestation, Rape of a Child, Assault of a Child, Domestic Violence, and Elder Abuse.

Top Seattle Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys David S. Marshall and Aimee Sutton Not much is as frightening as being accused of sexual assault, rape, child abuse, elder abuse . . . any abuse of a vulnerable person. The revulsion people feel about crimes like these can override the presumption of innocence and even simple fairness. To a person accused, it can feel that life has stopped . . . and may never restart.

But the accused can get justice. For eighteen years top Seattle child abuse and special assault defense attorney David S. Marshall and his team have been getting it for them in civil, CPS, and criminal cases—as many of them report here. This record is the reason other lawyers refer their clients to David and his team. They defend against child abuse, sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, and elder assault allegations in courts and administrative hearings throughout Washington State—in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Spokane, Everett, Vancouver, and other cities and towns; in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, and other counties; and in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and other regions of the United States. Special assault defense is the work to which they have dedicated themselves.

Their dedication to child abuse and special assault defense means more than fighting for their clients in court. It also means keeping up to date on developments around the world in law, psychology, and medicine that concern allegations of child abuse and other special assaults. At this site you'll find some of those developments, as well as a lot about how the best child abuse and special assault defense lawyers work.

From Our Case Files

False Memories Abound in Child Sex Abuse Trial

"Now everyone has a false memory." Thus did the prosecutor caricature my closing argument in his rebuttal argument.

Seed and Soil: Why Billy Accused Max

Usually when a child incorrectly alleges that he has been molested, someone close to him—or the child himself—has something to gain from the accusation.

A "Shaken Baby" Case Study: Judge Reverses CPS Decision That Woman Assaulted Infant

A Washington state woman's care of her foster infant has been vindicated by an administrative law judge.


News & Events

Fri March 27 2015

Petition Drive Launched for Assessment of Medical Diagnoses of Child Abuse

The petition is focused on infant brain injuries that were once called Shaken Baby Syndrome and are now called Abusive Head Trauma.

State v. Johnson (2015)

Felony Stalking Conviction Reversed after Thurston County Prosecutor Failed to Prove Repeated Followings

The Court reversed the felony stalking conviction, finding that the Thurston County prosecutor only presented evidence of one incident of stalking.

Mon March 16 2015

New Study Links Reid Interrogation Technique to False Witness Statements

False confessions can happen in any kind of case, but especially in heinous cases such as those involving rape, child molestation, and infant assault.

Fri March 13 2015

Should the Wrongfully Accused Receive Automatic Reimbursement for Incorrect SBS Diagnoses?

Law student argues that families wrongfully accused of shaking a child should be reimbursed by CPS, law enforcement, and medical providers for the financial costs of a wrongful SBS diagnosis.

State v. R.K. (2015)

Fresh-Complaint Evidence Leads to Reversal

The court found that the fresh-complaint testimony here was inadmissible because it did more than convey that a complaint had been made, and it was excessively graphic.

Wed March 11 2015

Man Awarded $9.2 Million for Wrongful Imprisonment for Rape

The judge considered the profound consequences of imprisonment, including several prison rapes, a resulting HIV diagnosis, suicide attempts, depression, and estrangement from his family.

Mon March 9 2015

CBS 48 Hours Explores Prosecutions for Child Brain Injuries

The show features Deborah Tuerkheimer, a Northwestern University law professor who has found rampant injustice in prosecutions based on 'shaken baby syndrome."

Fri February 27 2015

Marshall Defense Firm Celebrates Client's Release From Guantanamo

Ahmed Ajam was released after spending nearly 13 years in prison without ever being put on trial.

Wed Feb 25 2015

Doubts Cast on Study Linking Child Pornography and Hands-On Offenses

The shortcomings of a similar study—known as "the Butner study"—have also been publicized.

State v. Walker (2015)

Washington Supreme Court Reverses for Prejudicial PowerPoint

Almost half the 250 slides included the heading "DEFENDANT WALKER GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER."

Mon Feb 23 2015

Battle of Experts Takes Place in Shaken Baby Case

The prosecution charged Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim with attempted homicide, alleging that Ibrahim shook his four-month-old child resulting in brain injury.

Sun Feb 22 2015

Conviction Reversed after Scientific Shift in Shaken Baby Syndrome

In the decision, the judge stated that "there has been a compelling and consequential shift in mainstream medical opinion" regarding shaken baby syndrome.

Thu Feb 19 2015

Mississippi Supreme Court Reverses Where Defendant Unable to Afford Medical Expert

The supreme court reversed the conviction of Leevester Brown for shaking his infant son to death.

Tue Feb 17 2015

Columbia University Student Accused of Campus Sexual Assault Speaks Out

Almost two years ago, Paul Nungesser faced a campus hearing for sexual assault regarding an incident he calls consensual.

Mon Feb 16 2015

Connecticut Man Awarded $6 Million after Wrongfully Convicted

Kenneth Ireland was wrongly imprisoned for 21 years for the rape and killing of a mother of four.

Thu Feb 12 2015

The Problems with "Yes Means Yes"

Some have called the standard unreasonable and say that it would be difficult to implement in practice.

State v. Nichols (2014)

Admission of Sexual Habits Evidence Leads to Reversal

At trial, the State elicited testimony about the defendant's personal sexual habits during its questioning of the girlfriend.

Com. v. Foster F. (2014)

Court Reverses after Entirety of Sexual Assault Interview Admitted

The trial judge admitted the entire interview transcript without making any redactions.

McRoy v. U.S. (2015)

Court Improperly Admitted Videotaped Interview of Child Accuser for Lacking Foundation

The defendant was charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse involving two of his stepdaughters and one of the girls' friends.

Wed Feb 4 2015

Post-Conviction DNA Testing Frees North Carolina Man

Sledge continually avowed his innocence over the past 36 years, filing multiple appeals that were denied without hearing.

Fri January 23 2015

David Marshall Client Released from Guantanamo Bay Detention Center by Obama Administration

Ahmed Ajam had been held at Guantanamo since 2001 without ever being put on trial.

In re N.C. (2014)

Confrontation Rights Violated When Child Accuser Unresponsive to Direct Examination

The court found that the juvenile did not have an opportunity to cross-examine the child accuser because her unresponsiveness proved that any attempt to cross-examine would ultimately be futile.

State v. J.M., Jr. (2014)

Acquittal-Evidence Cannot Prove Defendant Committed Prior Crime

In J.M., the defendant, a massage therapist, was charged with sexually assaulting a customer.

U.S. v. Laurita (2014)

Miranda Warning Required Where FBI Interviewed Suspect at Place of Employment

At the evidentiary hearing, an FBI agent testified that he did not give the defendant a Miranda warning prior to questioning.

State v. Duran (2014)

Lay Testimony about Delayed Disclosure of Childhood Abuse Held Inadmissible

The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial judge erred in allowing the professional to testify about the frequency in which abused children delay disclosure because the professional was a lay witness, not an expert.

State v. Kirk (2014)

Prosecution's Use of "Dixie" Lyrics in Rebuttal Closing Leads to Reversal

In the rebuttal closing argument, the prosecutor used lyrics from the song "Dixie" which included the words "look away."

State v. Jaquez (2014)

Conviction Reversed where Expert Witness Bolstered Child Witness's Credibility

The Supreme Court of Iowa has reversed a conviction for sexual abuse of a child after an expert witness vouched for the accusing child's credibility.

Kvasnikoff v. Alaska (2014)

Child Abuse Conviction Reversed After Prosecutor Elicits Pre-Arrest Silence Testimony

Generally, a defendant's pre-arrest silence is inadmissible due to its low probative value and high prejudicial effect.

Fri January 2 2014

Physicians Argue Shaken Baby Syndrome is Not Conclusive of Shaking

Many physicians have reported that a triad of symptoms may also be consistent with a short fall.

Mon December 29 2014

The Frailty of Memory and Justice

Among their most important points is that high confidence in one's memory of a particular fact—such as the recognition of someone as one's rapist—is no guarantee of accuracy.

State v. Brown (2014)

New Mexico Court Holds Bail Cannot be Based Solely on Nature of Charged Offense

While the defendant was charged with first-degree murder, he had proven that the non-monetary conditions of his release ensured he was not a flight or safety risk.

Wed December 17 2014

Charges Dismissed Against Manhattan Preschool Teacher Accused of Sexual Abuse

Malthe Thomsen, a student teacher from Denmark, was charged with sexual abuse after a co-worker reported to the school that he had inappropriately touched children.

State v. Gunderson (2014)

Washington Supreme Court Reverses After Prior Domestic Violence Incidents Improperly Admitted in Evidence

The Washington Supreme Court has limited the situations in which evidence of prior domestic violence incidents can be admitted at trial to impeach a witness.

State v. Ruiz-Piza (2014)

Oregon Court of Appeals Affirms Suppression of Shaking Confession

In Oregon, a defendant's admissions or confessions are inadmissible if the statements were made in fear of a threat.

Sun December 7 2014

Olympia Man Released After Accuser Recants

Jerry Lee Brock has been released, having been imprisoned since 1995 when a jury convicted him of child molestation.

Thu December 4 2014

Students Accused of Sexual Assault Bring Title IX Claims Against Universities

Counsel for students accused of sexual assault are calling attention to the inadequacies of university adjudication systems by bringing sexual discrimination claims against colleges.

State v. W.R., Jr. (2014)

Washington Rape Defendants No Longer Required to Prove Consent

The Washington Supreme Court has held that it violates due process rights to require a defendant to prove consent as a defense to a rape charge.

Wunsch v. State (2014)

Child Neglect Conviction Reversed Where Jury Instructions Included Uncharged Theory

A Florida Court of Appeals has reversed a child neglect conviction after the trial court instructed the jury that it could convict on an uncharged theory of guilt.

Wed November 26 2014

Swedish Supreme Court Finds SBS Theory Unproven

The Supreme Court of Sweden has found insufficient scientific support for the theory that underlies many prosecutions for assaulting infants and causing brain injuries.

Mon November 24 2014

New York Man Awarded $40 Million after Wrongful Conviction

His false confession to rape and murder came after a six hour interrogation and three lie detector tests.

State v. Lewis (2014)

Flawed Jury Instruction Leads to Reversal

Court overturns the conviction of man for sexual abuse of a child after his defense attorney failed to object to flawed jury instructions.

State v. Franks (2014)

Court Reverses after Evidence of Prior Child Molestation Charges Admitted

Conviction for sexual assault of a child overturned because the trial court improperly admitted evidence that the defendant was previously charged with child molestation.

State v. Lavalleur (2014)

Existence of Third Party Intimate Relationships Does Not Invoke Rape Shield Statute to Infer Guilt

The court found that exclusion of a third party relationship was prejudicial because the complainant's credibility was critical to the prosecutor's case.

Tue November 11 2014

National Research Council Urges New Best Practices for Eyewitness Identification

Research has increasingly uncovered the limits of eyewitness identifications—limits imposed both by human nature and by flaws in law enforcement agencies' procedures.

Wed November 5 2014

Harvard Law Professors Condemn New Campus Sexual Assault Policy

The professors state that the new procedures make a single Harvard administrative office judge and jury of accused students.

Mon November 3 2014

Washington Court Awards Seattle Man Nearly $500,000 after Wrongful Conviction

In 2013, the Washington State legislature had passed a compensation law for the wrongfully convicted that authorizes an award of $50,000 for each year a person is wrongfully imprisoned.

Commonwealth v. Letkowski (2014)

Defendant's Use of Right to Silence Cannot be Used to Infer Guilt

The defendant appealed a rape conviction, arguing that the trial judge had improperly admitted evidence that he invoked his right to silence after arrest.

Wed October 15 2014

Unreliability of Hearsay Statements in Assault Cases

A legal scholar argues that hearsay statements are not reliable enough to admit them in evidence at trials for domestic violence, rape, and other acts of interpersonal violence.

State v. Crumpton (2014)

Washington Supreme Court Holds DNA Testing to be Presumed Favorable to Defendants

The Supreme Court of Washington has clarified the showing a convict must make to obtain post-conviction DNA testing of biological evidence.

Fri October 10 2014

New York Judge to Examine Confession in Patz Case

A New York judge will determine whether the videotaped confessions of Pedro Hernandez, who admitted to murdering Etan Patz, are admissible.

Wed October 8 2014

North Carolina Brothers' Rape-Murder Convictions Overturned on DNA Evidence

DNA testing has cleared two mentally disabled North Carolina men for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl that occurred over thirty years ago.

Mon October 6 2014

Should States Compensate Families of the Wrongly Convicted?

Children and spouses of the wrongly convicted suffer financially because of the years of lost income.

Commonwealth v. Quinn (2014)

Conviction Overturned After Expert Vouches for Child's Credibility

The supreme court found that the trial judge had erred in allowing the social worker to testify that the girl's behavior was consistent with the behavior of victims of childhood sexual abuse.

State v. Slocum (2014)

Washington Court of Appeals Reverses For Improperly Admitting Evidence of Prior Child Molestations

The Court of Appeals found that the trial judge made a prejudicial error in admitting the testimony, and reversed the conviction.

Mon September 22 2014

Juvenile Interrogation Reforms Urged to Curtail False Confessions

Multiple studies have proven that those 15 years of age and younger lack the maturity and experience to fully comprehend their rights and the consequences of waiving them.

State v. Hernandez-Fabian (2014)

DNA Testing's Limits in Correcting Wrongful Convictions

Law professor Daniel Medwed calls for reforms to avoid wrongful convictions in the first place.

State v. Hernandez-Fabian (2014)

Oregon Court Reverses After State Fails to Give Proper Child Hearsay Notice

Oregon statutory law allows admission of child hearsay statements under certain circumstances but requires that prosecutors give 15 days notice to defendants that they intend to use such evidence.

Mon September 15 2014

Police Tactics Induce Juveniles to Waive Miranda Rights

Police have interests adverse to suspects; they would much rather see a suspect waive his rights than invoke them.

People v. Jefferson (2014)

Colorado Jury's Unrestricted Access to Child Interview Videotape Results in Reversal

The videotape contained the child's out-of-court statements to a forensic interviewer, detailing the alleged sexual contact.

Wed August 27 2014

Daubert Hearing on Shaken Baby Syndrome Looms

A Massachusetts court has been asked to conduct a hearing solely on the legitimacy of shaken baby syndrome as a valid scientific theory.

Mon August 25 2014

Senators Propose Campus Sexual Assault Legislation

This comes after the White House published a report in April detailing its plan to fight sexual assault on college campuses.

State v. Whitaker (2014)

Appellate Court Criticizes "Traumagenic Dynamics" Testimony

In the sexual abuse context, Washington precedent has held that experts cannot use a "generalized profile" of sexual assault victims to prove assault occurred.

Tue August 19 2014

Twenty-Year-Long Review of FBI Lab Hair Analysis Resumes

Nearly every criminal case reviewed as part of an investigation started in 2012 of problems at the lab has included flawed forensic testimony from the agency.

Mon August 18 2014

Video-Recording Interrogations Could Increase Wrongful Convictions

UCLA law professor argues that the vividness of a video confession can actually prejudice a criminal defendant.

Thu August 7 2014

Felony Child Abuse Charges to be Dropped Against Arizona Mother

Shanesha Taylor made national headlines when an Arizona prosecutor charged her with felony child abuse for leaving her small children in the car while attending a job interview.

People v. Thomas (2014)

Father, Once Wrongfully Convicted, Wins Acquittal

In 2009, Adrian Thomas was convicted of second-degree murder after prosecutors alleged he violently threw his toddler son down on a bed.

Cavaliere v. Florida (2014)

Police Officer's Bolstering of Child Witness's Credibility Leads

A Florida court of appeals has overturned a child molestation conviction because two witnesses, a police officer and a teacher, testified to the child's credibility during trial.

Del Prete v. Thompson (2014)

Del Prete Murder Conviction Overturned as Judge Questions Shaken Baby Syndrome Doctrine

The court overturned Del Prete's conviction after receiving new medical testimony that doubted the SBS diagnosis.

State v. Kinzle (2014)

Conviction Overturned for Prosecutor's Failure to Elicit Allegations

The Washington Court of Appeals has overturned a child molestation conviction because the child complainant did not include the criminal allegations in her testimony.

State v. Robert Barry (2014)

Demeanor at Counsel Table May Not be Considered Evidence

During deliberations, the jury asked the court if it could consider the accused's actions or demeanor in the courtroom during the trial as "evidence."

Thu July 3 2014

White House Report on Sexual Assault on Campus Neglects Rights of the Accused

Critics charge the report fails to acknowledge university adjudication systems infringe rights of the accused.

Tue July 1 2014

Lessons of the McMartin Case

In the mid-1980s, the McMartin Preschool child sex abuse trial shocked the nation with its accusations of rampant abuse at a California preschool.

State v. Gower (2014)

Admitting Evidence of Prior Sex Offenses Results in Reversal

The Washington Supreme Court has reversed a man's conviction for sex crimes against his 17-year-old stepdaughter.