Washington Law Review

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The Undersigned Attorney Hereby Certifies: Ensuring Reasonable Caseloads for Washington Defenders and Clients

March 01, 2014 | 89 Wash. L. Rev. 217

Santos Rivas was appointed a defense attorney in Yakima County in August 1999. About a month later, he appeared in court. Upon arrival, Rivas discovered that his public defender, Steven Michels, was now presiding over his case as judge. Then-Judge Michels persuaded Rivas not only to fire Michels as his attorney, but also to plead guilty to all charges. Judge Michels did not inform Rivas of his right to appoint new counsel and pressured his former client to proceed without an attorney in his guilty plea.

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