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Supreme Court of Washington
August 11, 1983, Filed
[*213] [**630] In this case, defendant Keith Ratliff challenges the constitutionality of law student representation of indigent criminal defendants [**631] pursuant to Admission to Practice Rule 9. Mr. Ratliff also raises a secondary claim that he was denied effective assistance of counsel in this particular case because his legal intern was given neither an opportunity to consult with his supervisor nor sufficient time to prepare for trial generally. We hold that representation by a law student pursuant to rule 9 does not deny a defendant his or her right to counsel as long as the student strictly complies with rule 9 requirements. Since the record in the present case shows that the law student representing [***4] Mr. Ratliff was prevented from complying with rule 9 requirements, we hold that there was a denial of the right to counsel in the circumstances of this case.
On Friday, November 6, 1981, Mr. Ratliff appeared in Seattle Municipal Court for trial on three consolidated charges of driving with license suspended. Though Mr. Ratliff believed counsel had been assigned to represent him in these matters, and in fact Irving Paul of Associated Counsel for the Accused had been appointed on October 1, no attorney appeared in court. Upon questioning Mr. Ratliff, the court discovered that he was being represented by John Edwards, a legal intern from the Seattle-King County Public Defender Association, in another matter the next [*214] Monday. The court then summoned Mr. Edwards, despite Mr. Ratliff's objection that Mr. Edwards was not representing him in the instant case. While the record suggests that Mr. Edwards was aware of the charges, there is no evidence in the record that he had discussed the underlying facts with Mr. Ratliff.
The court took a brief recess to await Mr. Edwards' arrival and Mr. Edwards, once he arrived, had a chance to talk with Mr. Ratliff for "just a little bit." [***5] Report of Proceedings, at 10. The court then ended its recess and expressed an intent to go forward with Mr. Edwards as counsel. Mr. Edwards objected.
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100 Wn.2d 212 *; 667 P.2d 630 **; 1983 Wash. LEXIS 1659 ***
The City of Seattle, Respondent, v. Keith A. Ratliff, Petitioner
supervising, intern, law student, courts, cases, right to counsel, complied, assistance of counsel, trial court, conditions
Governments, Courts, Creation & Organization, Legal Ethics, Practice Qualifications, Civil Procedure, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, General Overview, Rule Application & Interpretation, Law Firms, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Limited Jurisdiction, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Assistance of Counsel, Criminal Law & Procedure, Defendant's Rights, Right to Counsel, Sanctions, Disbarments, Parties, Real Party in Interest, Required Representation, Counsel, Public Health & Welfare Law, Social Services, Legal Aid, Effective Assistance of Counsel