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Another New Twist On Baby Kidnapping? Take Your Picture?

Another New Twist On Baby Kidnapping? Take Your Picture?

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Hi, today we’re sitting with Spencer Freeman, criminal attorney and civil attorney, in Pierce County, Washington, and all the other surrounding counties within the Puget Sound area. Today we want to talk about an article that specifically is related to an incident in Pierce County, and that’s where a woman, posing as a baby photographer, attempted to kidnap one of the clients that came into — that she enticed to come into her business. Quote, business. However you can call it. But she was charged, law enforcement investigated the situation and she was charged with a number of charges — I will let you detail that, Spencer –in addition to her 16-year old daughter.

In the course of the investigation, the law enforcement uncovered that this occurred four other times previously. I read this article and it’s not great in depth about the situation itself, but it just raises a lot of questions such as, wait a minute, what happened to the other four? Did they make a complaint? Is this why they looked into her in the first place? She drugged the potential client. So there’s a number of charges. And with the 16-year-old — these are serious charges — and the 16-year-old was charged also in juvenile court. But these are serious enough charges to maybe a 16-year-old should go into adult court? And I would like you to address all of those issues if you can, because of course we understand that there’s not much information available on this.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Yeah, I’m going to be a little bit limited based off of just my understanding of the situation. My understanding is that the adult, the mother, defendant, has been charged with assault in the second degree and attempted kidnapping. And the assault in the second degree was for drugging the mother of the baby during the attempt to kidnap.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“And those are serious charges.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“For sure. Yeah. And as well as they should be. I don’t know a lot about the past — the four prior incidents and how they play in. Certainly it raises the stakes here and concerns about the defendant herself and who she is. Her daughter has been charged in juvenile court. It doesn’t look like that she’ll be charged as an adult. There’s something that’s called a declination hearing, that if the prosecutor’s office wants to charge her as an adult, they’ve got to go through that and get court approval to do so. There could be a myriad of reasons that they chose not to do that, including she could be, you know, as a 16-year-old girl influenced by her mother and engaging in those actions.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Is this one of those cases where you’re going to be able to be defense council whether it’s a private attorney or a public defender, where they’re going to be able to mitigate the charges downward and come up with something that’s entirely different from the original charge? I mean, this is a potential kidnapping of a baby. It just seems to me that this would be where they would draw a line in the sand.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Yeah, it’s easy to say that on the outside, but there’s always going to be two major things that play into whether or not there’s some sort of plea bargain that reduces the current charges significantly. One of them is going to be the value of the evidence against the defendant. That could include the availability of the evidence. It also could include the admissibility of the evidence. It also could include just the value itself, how strong is the case against her. And then the other thing that will always come into play is kind of answering the question, why? So this gal did this, why? What was the basis of it? Are there mitigating circumstances in her life? I don’t think that there is an insanity defense here, at least from my understanding, but that doesn’t mean that her mental state, and maybe what some things she was dealing with aren’t of value for a mitigation perspective. You know, is this person, for the lack of better terminology, just evil? Or are there mental processes that are going on for her that most people don’t have to deal with, that’s causing these behaviors?”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“I see. So you raise the issue of mental incompetence or a mentally ill situation. Is that used often?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“It’s not used often because it’s not often true. Listen, everybody can say it, right, but you actually have to have evidence that somebody is in such a mental state that they don’t understand right from wrong. And Remember, there’s two different things here: One is a defense of insanity, and the other one is that somebody is incompetent to stand trial. And those are two different things.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Explain that a little bit, would you?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Well, incompetence to stand trial means that the defendant is unable to understand the charges against them, unable to assist defense council, and therefore needs to be somehow rehabilitated to get to the point where they can be competent to stand trial. The other one is, during the incident itself, the defendant didn’t have the mental capabilities to understand right from wrong, or understand what was going on. I think the common thing is somebody that’s schizophrenic and is hallucinating, and thinks that they’re somewhere else and doing something else, and not realizing what is really going on. I think that’s probably the most common example.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, in this particular case, I don’t think that’s going to stand, because according to the article, she drugged the client. The same thing occurred in the past, so there’s a repeated behavior pattern here.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Well, nor have I heard anybody throwing around a potential for an insanity plea.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“It seems on it’s face, it just seems heinous and I wanted to just discuss that article, because you don’t really see it. The article states that she wanted to raise the baby herself, but that’s — if it’s four other times, were there four other times where it never came to fruition? And again, we don’t know, but it just seems almost out of a fiction.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“It does seem a little bit out of fiction, and obviously some things going on with this gal that she’s going to take a step to steal somebody else’s infants for her to raise. It’s not normal behavior. It’s not a normal thought process. And hopefully the criminal justice system will work such that that can be figured out. Obviously something needs to be done here. Certainly, if she has done it in the past, or attempted to do it in the past, this is ongoing behavior and ongoing pattern that needs to be dealt with.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, we’re going to keep on eye on this. We’ll have you back for further comment. Thank you, Spencer.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Thank you.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Bye-bye.”

Born and raised in Colorado, Mr. Freeman stayed in the Pacific Northwest after graduating cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 1995, at which time he was awarded the National Order of Barristers by the National Board of Governors. After gaining extensive trial experience as a prosecutor for the City of Tacoma, Mr. Freeman worked locally for several small law firms focused on personal injury and criminal defense. In 2000, he began to work at a downtown Seattle law firm, where he worked with some of the best lawyers in the nation. During the better part of the next six years, Mr. Freeman was blessed to do work for one of the largest national television providers litigating matters involving the theft of encrypted satellite signals. During this time, he worked closely with corporate counsel and assisted in developing and managing a national litigation campaign. He appeared in federal courts throughout the nation, gaining extensive experience in both federal court litigation and the pursuit of intellectual property thieves attempting to hide on the Internet.

In late 2005, Mr. Freeman decided to open a practice in Tacoma, where his family was growing. Mr. Freeman’s connections locally and nationally nourished his practice over time. He has served the local community as well as handling cases in federal courts across the country. Locally, Mr. Freeman has assisted local businesses in such matters as contentious shareholder disputes and individuals in matters ranging from catastrophic injuries to class A felonies as well as lawsuits against insurance companies for bad faith claims practices. He tried a Whatcom County Superior Court case for a bail bond company that resulted in the first appellate law in Washington truly outlining the rights of fugitive recovery agents. He has tried cases in many counties throughout the State of Washington, argued before the Court of Appeals Division I and Division II and the Washington State Supreme Court.

Mr. Freeman’s practice has taken him beyond Washington State, where he has handled cases for national Internet multi-media companies enforcing copyrights in states such as Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and California. In those cases, he has successfully argued for jurisdiction in the United States against individuals that reside in other countries. Mr. Freeman also represented a publisher against sheriffs regarding First Amendment Rights to distribute a magazine in county jails, resulting in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the first case law of its kind. He has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals five times and submitted a briefing to the United States Supreme Court.

On more than several occasions, Mr. Freeman has been retained by parties on the near eve of a trial solely for purpose of being lead trial counsel. One such successful case was against the U.S. Department of Justice in their first trial attempting to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act for the actions of independent contractors.

Mr. Freeman’s passion and strength lay in front of a jury. He finds a beautiful balance between fact witnesses, statutes, case law, rules of evidence, and the different contexts of each jury. Most cases find a resolution before trial, but the best resolution occurs when counsel is prepared to try the case. And, when a case cannot find resolution, Mr. Freeman loves to go to work.

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