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Richard Hansen

(retired 2017)

Richard Hansen biography

Awards & distinctions

Significant trials & appeals

Other noteworthy appellate cases

Service to the profession

Education and professional background



Significant Trials & Appeals

State v. Roger Wright, 174 Wn.2d 177, 275 P.3d 289 (2012), holding that the Washington Constitution requires the police to always obtain a warrant to search a vehicle once the occupants have been removed and can no longer gain access to the interior; Washington is now the only jurisdiction, state or federal, with this requirement.

United States v. Gaudin. This 1995 United States Supreme Court decision reversed 70 years of Supreme Court precedent and changed the burden of proof for hundreds of state and federal false statement, fraud and perjury statutes. Judge Kozinski began his lengthy dissenting opinion from the Ninth Circuit's 6-5 en banc decision with the following observation: "Court of appeals opinions, particularly en banc opinions, frequently raise waves on the waters of the law. Today's opinion is more akin to a tsunami." United States v. Gaudin, 515 U.S. 506 (1995)

State v. Lynn Averitt. This murder and assault prosecution in 1977 involved a young woman who stabbed an abusive man to death in his sleep, then inflicted two dozen stab wounds on the victim's wife. She was acquitted of all charges based on a diminished capacity defense supported by expert testimony from Dr. Jennifer James, Ph.D., and psychiatric testimony that anticipated the Battered Woman Syndrome several years before it was formally recognized.

State v. Kevin Coe. This highly publicized case formed the basis of a best selling crime fiction book and a made-for-TV movie. Mr. Hansen and his partner tried the case once, and successfully appealed it twice, producing a rule in the State of Washington that excludes eyewitness testimony that has been "enhanced" through the use of hypnosis. State v. Coe I, 101 Wn.2d 772, 684 P.2d 668 (1984) State v. Coe II, 109 Wn.2d 832, 750 P.2d 208 (1988)

State v. Tyrone Briggs. This highly publicized, cross-racial eyewitness case involved seven aggravated assault and robbery charges against an African American teenager. The case was tried three times, twice by Mr. Hansen, and successfully appealed by him, ultimately resulting in dismissal of all charges. It established a new standard for juror misconduct in Washington. State v. Briggs, 55 Wn. App. 44, 776 P.2d 1347 (1989)

Steve Titus v. City of Seattle. This civil rights case was based on the wrongful conviction of an innocent man and generated both a book and an HBO movie. Extensive investigation by Mr. Hansen and his partner produced evidence of altered police reports and missing evidence, and resulted in a $2.6 million dollar recovery.

State v. Black. This rape conviction was reversed on appeal by both the Washington Court of Appeals and the Washington Supreme Court, and established a new rule forbidding use of the "Rape Trauma Syndrome" testimony in the State of Washington. State v. Black, 109 Wn.2d 336, 745 P.2d 12 (1987)

State v. Sulgrove. This appeal set a new standard for dismissal of criminal charges for prosecutorial misconduct based on "mere mismanagement" of a case. State v. Sulgrove, 19 Wn. App. 860, 578 P.2d 74 (1978)

State v. Steward. This appeal reversed a murder conviction and severely restricted the use of expert testimony based on profiles or syndromes. Mr. Hansen tried the case twice, handled the appeal and obtained a hung jury, split 11 to 1 for acquittal. The case was finally dismissed. State v. Steward, 34 Wn. App. 221, 660 P.2d 278 (1983)

State v. Boland. Mr. Hansen wrote the brief and argued as amicus curiae in this appeal, which rejected the holding of the United States Supreme Court in California v. Greenwood and decided, on state constitutional grounds, that the police cannot seize a person's garbage set our for collection without first obtaining a search warrant. State v. Boland, 115 Wn.2d 571, 980 P.2d 1112 (1990) (amicus)

State v. Counts. This 1983 appeal established the right to use force to resist an unlawful, warrantless police entry of a home to effect a felony arrest. Mr. Hansen handled both the trial and the appeal. State v. Counts, 99 Wn.2d 54, 659 P.2d 1087 (1983)

State v. Ted Patrick. In this prosecution for multiple charges of kidnapping, burglary and assault, Mr. Hansen represented the famous deprogrammer of young people caught up in religious cults. The case was dismissed mid trial.

State v. Watkinson. Boeing attorney charged with numerous counts of rape, torture and assault against his wife of 43 years acquitted of all charges following six week jury trial. Extensive recovery of deleted computer files proved that the defendant's wife suffered from Munchausen's Syndrome and had self inflicted serious injuries, including third degree burns, a broken leg, and numerous contusions that resulted in 150 visits to a doctor over a period of two years.

State v. Baldwin. Police officer accused by fellow officers exonerated following lengthy trial of charges that he kidnapped, threatened and assaulted a police informant.

In a five year Federal Medicare Fraud investigation against teaching physicians at University of Washington; one of two targeted doctors not charged and another found guilty of a single, $124 billing error eight years earlier, sentenced to community service and a fine.

State v. Holt. Jury acquittal in less than 20 minutes after two week trial on child rape and molestation charges. Defendant's prior, similar acts and admissions to police were suppressed as a result of defense legal motions.

State v. Jitesh Chawla.  Dr. Chawla was charged with seventeen counts of indecent liberties and two counts of first degree rape against patients and co-workers at the clinic where he was employed.  After several days of deliberations, the jury was deadlocked 9-3 for acquittal and all charges were ultimately dismissed with prejudice.

State v. Dwayne H.  After five years as a fugitive Dwayne H. was extradited back to the United States to stand trial for multiple counts based upon a home invasion robbery by several individuals.  Two co-defendants testified against Mr. H., the gun and stolen merchandise were found at his house but the jury found him not guilty of all charges.

State v. Gilbert Conte.  Mr. Conte was one of the “strippergate” defendants along with the Colacurcio family.  The defense successfully argued that King County’s jury selection system from two separate parts of the county was unconstitutional.  Mr. Conte ultimately pled guilty to a single gross misdemeanor charge, involving unsupervised probation and no jail sentence, which was dismissed after one year.


Other Noteworthy Appellate Cases Include:

United States v. Kohli, 110 F.3d 1478 (9th Cir. 1997)
Schwendeman v. Wallenstein, 971 F.2d 312 (9th Cir. 1992)
Dever v. Fowler, 63 Wn. App. 35, 816 P.2d 1237 (1991)
Peterson v. Littlejohn, 56 Wn. App. 1, 781 P.2d 1329 (1989)
Mannhalt v. Reed, 847 F.2d 576 (9th Cir. 1988)
United States v. Vasey, 834 F.2d 782 (9th Cir. 1987)
State v. Hanson, 46 Wn. App. 656, 731 P.2d 1140 (1987)
State v. Black, 46 Wn. App. 259, 730 JP.2d 698 (1986)
State v. Fitzgerald, 39 Wn. App. 652, 694 P.2d 1117 (1985)
State v. LeFever, 102 Wn.2d 777, 690 P.2d 574 (1984)
State v. Bradley, 20 Wn. App. 222, 580 P.2d 640 (1978)
State v. Edwards, 20 Wn. App. 648, 581 P.2d 154 (1978)

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