March 31, 2005

The Crawford in Crawford v. Washington changes his plea to guilty

You know Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004).

But do you know the man in the title? He was back in a South Sound courtroom yesterday:

An Olympia man whose conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court pleaded guilty Wednesday on the eve of a second trial for stabbing a man he thought had tried to rape his wife.

Michael Crawford, 27, ...was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in Thurston County Superior Court to one count of first-degree assault. His conviction and 14-year prison term were reversed... by the nation's highest court.

The Supreme Court set aside precedent and sent Crawford's case back for a new trial, and barred prosecutors from using
(his) wife's taped statement...

"There were indeed problems that both sides would face," Judge Gary Tabor said Wednesday as he accepted the guilty plea. "There were very valid concerns to both sides as to what might be the risks."

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dave Soukup said the prosecution's case would have hinged on testimony from the victim...

But the victim, Kenneth R. Lee, is in the county jail and has a history of crime and drug use. That increased the risk that jurors would acquit a second time around, Soukup said...

Update: Meanwhile in Grant County, Washington, here is what happened to Mr. Blakely after he "won" in the U.S. Supreme Court... 35 years to serve.