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Washington Appellate Project
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Attorneys

Gregory Link
Greg Link has been with the Washington Appellate Project since 1995 and became its Director in 2016. He handles appeals in both state and federal court and is certified to represent capital defendants in the Washington Supreme Court. Greg serves on the board of directors of the Washington Defender Association and the Public Records Act committee of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has argued approximately 50 cases in the Washington Supreme Court, including State v. O’Dell, 183 Wn.2d 680 (2015) (holding youth is a proper basis for a mitigated sentence below the standard range in cases involving young adult defendants); State v. S.J.C., 183 Wn.2d 408 (2015) (holding statute permitting former juvenile offenders to seal their records under certain circumstances does not violate article I, section 10 of the Washington Constitution); State v. Allen, 182 Wn.2d 364 (2015) (reversing convictions for four counts of first-degree murder because prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct by repeatedly misstating the law of accomplice liability); and State v. W.R., 181 Wn.2d 757 (2014) (holding State bears burden of proving complaining witness did not consent to sex in alleged rape cases). In 2006, Greg argued Washington v. Recuenco, 548 U.S. 212 (2006) in the United States Supreme Court. In 2012, he received the Washington Defender Association's President's Award. Greg earned his B.A. at Oregon State University and his J.D. at Gonzaga University.

Kate Benward
Kate Benward joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2017. She previously served as a staff attorney with the University of Washington Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, as a trial and appellate attorney with the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, and as a public defender with the Colville Confederated Tribes. Kate earned her B.A. and J.D. at the University of Washington, and an M.A. at New York University.

Nancy Collins
Nancy Collins served as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society in New York City before joining the Washington Appellate Project in 1999. She handles appeals in state and federal court and is certified by the Washington Supreme Court to represent capital defendants. She has argued approximately 50 cases in the Washington Supreme Court, including State v. Ramos, 187 Wn.2d 420 (2017) (requiring court to meaningfully analyze youth and its hallmark attributes when any juvenile faces lengthy sentence); In re Moi, 184 Wn.2d 575 (2015) (reversing murder conviction due to double jeopardy violation); State v. Jasper, 174 Wn.2d 96 (2012) (holding State violates Confrontation Clause by offering clerk’s affidavit rather than live testimony); and State v. Monday, 171 Wn.2d 667 (2011) (prosecutor’s use of negative racial stereotypes requires reversal). In 2006, Nancy appeared in the United States Supreme Court on Davis v. Washington, 547 U.S. 813 (2006). In 2012, she received the President's Award from both the Washington Defender Association and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Nancy earned her B.A. at Tufts and her J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.

Maureen Cyr
Maureen Cyr joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2002 after serving as a law clerk to Judge Marlin Appelwick at the Washington Court of Appeals. Maureen has served on the judicial screening committee of the King County Bar Association and the Personal Restraint Petition Task Force for the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Significant cases Maureen has argued include State v. Gresham, 173 Wn.2d 405 (2012) (holding statute that permits admission of evidence of prior sexual misconduct in sex offense cases is unconstitutional in violation of separation of powers doctrine); State v. Johnson, __ Wn.2d __, 2017 WL 2981033 (2017) (holding Washington’s “law of the case” doctrine requiring State to prove every element contained in to-convict jury instruction continues to apply); and In re Dependency of M.S.D., 144 Wn. App. 468 (2008) (reversing dependency order, holding State did not prove mother failed to protect daughter from risk posed by boyfriend). Maureen earned her B.A. at Reed College, her M.A. at the University of California, and her J.D. at the Universtiy of Washington.

Oliver Davis
Oliver Davis joined the Washington Appellate Project in 1996 after working as an attorney at Levinson Friedman Vuggen Duggan and Bland. He has argued numerous cases in Washington appellate courts, including State v. Thiefault, 160 Wn.2d 409 (2007) (vacating sentence and remanding for resentencing where a prior out-of-state conviction was improperly included in offender score); State v . Coleman, 159 Wn.2d 509 (2007) (reversing conviction because trial court failed to give jury instruction requiring unanimous agreement as to which act defendant committed beyond a reasonable doubt); and State v. Barnett, 139 Wn.2d 462 (1999) (holding burglary committed by entry into a building after close of business where no one was injured or threatened was not a ‘crime against a person’ for purposes of sentencing). Oliver earned his B.A. at Reed and his J.D. at Seattle University.

Thomas Kummerow
Tom Kummerow joined the Washington Appellate Project in 1995. He previously worked as an associate attorney at Clay & Hove in Oakland, California, and served as a law clerk to Judge Cecil F. Poole at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Tom handles appeals in both state and federal court and is certified to represent capital defendants in the Washington Supreme Court. His significant cases include State v. Lamar, 180 Wn.2d 576 (2014) (reversing conviction because trial court violated defendant’s right to a unanimous verdict by an impartial jury when it instructed jurors to bring an alternate up to speed); State v. Jackson, 137 Wn.2d 712 (1999) (holding it was reversible error to instruct the jury that violation of a parent's legal duty to come to the aid of his or her small children was a basis for accomplice liability) and In re the Personal Restraint of Mines, 146 Wn.2d 279 (2002) (defendant entitled to new parole revocation hearing because parole board failed to record hearing as required). Tom earned his B.A. at the University of California at Berkeley and his J.D. at Golden Gate University.

Richard Lechich
Richard Lechich joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2013. He served as a law clerk at the Washington Court of Appeals to Judge Mary Kay Becker in 2010-2012, and to Judge Lisa Worswick in 2013. Significant cases Richard has handled include State v. Clark-El, 196 Wn. App. 614 (2016) (sentence reversed because jury did not find defendant delivered methamphetamine); City of Seattle v. Pearson, 192 Wn. App. 802 (2016) (reversing conviction because defendant’s blood was drawn without a warrant); and In re Dependency of A.M.M., 182 Wn. App. 776 (2014) (Reversing termination of parental rights because State and court failed to comply with amended version of statute in effect at the time of termination). Richard earned both his B.A. and J.D. at the University of Washington.

Tiffinie Ma
Tiffinie Ma joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2017 after working as a trial attorney with the Snohomish County Public Defender Association. She has long been committed to public service, and participated in both the Tribal Defense Clinic and the Race and Justice Clinic while in law school. Tiffinie earned her B.A. at New York University and her J.D. at the University of Washington.

Kathleen Shea
Kate Shea joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2013 after serving as a public defender in Massachusetts for several years. Kate also has experience with civil litigation, having worked as an attorney at both Martens + Associates and Robert A. Friedman & Associates in Seattle. She serves on the steering committee for Friends of Federal and Republican Park, and has volunteered with Legal Voice. Kate has handled several significant cases, including State v. Lyons, 199 Wn. App. 235 (2017) (reversing involuntary medication order because trial court wrongly prohibited defendant from presenting his own expert testimony); State v. Sandberg, 199 Wash.App. 1018 (2017) (permitting withdrawal of guilty plea because defendant did not understand an essential element of the crime); and In re Detention of M.W. and W.D., 185 Wn.2d 633 (2016) (addressing constitutionality of amendments to Involuntary Treatment Act). Kate earned her B.A. at the University of Virginia and her J.D. at New York University.

Lila Silverstein
Lila Silverstein has been with the Washington Appellate Project since 2006. She handles appeals in both state and federal court and is certified to represent capital defendants in the Washington Supreme Court. Lila has served as chair of the King County Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section, as co-chair of the amicus committee of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. Lila has argued over 25 cases in the Washington Supreme Court, including State v. E.J.J., 183 Wn.2d 497 (2015) (reversing obstruction conviction and reaffirming First Amendment right to criticize the police); State v. Saintcalle, 178 Wn.2d 34 (2013) (recognizing pervasive problem of race discrimination in jury selection); and State v. Snapp, 174 Wn.2d 177 (2012) (holding Washington Constitution provides greater privacy protection than federal constitution in context of car searches). She has also won several Ninth Circuit cases, including a published victory in United States v. Phillips, 704 F.3d 754 (2012). Lila has received President’s Awards from both the Washington Defender Association (2011) and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2015). She earned her B.A. at Yale and her J.D. at the University of Washington.

Travis Stearns
Travis Stearns joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2015 after serving for several years as deputy director of the Washington Defender Association, where he focused on training and policy reform, both locally and nationally. Travis began his public defense career at the Legal Aid Society in New York and later worked at the Whatcom County Public Defender in Bellingham. He is a member of the Washington State Supreme Court's Minority and Justice Commission and an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law where he teaches a seminar for criminal law externs. Travis has provided amicus support in significant cases including State v. Houston-Sconiers, 188 Wn.2d 1 (2017) (holding courts sentencing juveniles have discretion to impose any sentence below the otherwise applicable range and enhancements); State v. Maynard, 183 Wn.2d 253 (2015) (remanding for further proceedings under the Juvenile Justice Act where defendant’s counsel was ineffective in failing to extend juvenile court jurisdiction before defendant turned 18); and State v. Blazina, 182 Wn.2d 827 (2015) (holding courts must inquire into defendants’ ability to pay before imposing discretionary costs). Travis has been recognized for his work in indigent defense and education, including awards from the Northwest Immigration Rights Project and Seattle University School of Law.

Sara Taboada
Sara Taboada joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2017 after graduating from Seattle University School of Law in 2016. Sara was dedicated to public interest projects throughout law school, serving as an intern at Columbia Legal Services, the Youth Advocacy Clinic, and The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. Her article Let's Invest in People, Not Prisons: How Washington State Should Address its Ex-Offender Unemployment Rate was published in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice. Sara is proficient in speaking, reading, and writing Spanish.

Jan Trasen
Jan Trasen joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2008 after serving as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society in New York for 10 years. While in New York, she also spent a year as a law clerk to United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom. Jan currently serves on the judicial evaluation committee for the Cardozo Society and on the board of directors for Lawyers Helping Hungry Children. Jan’s significant cases include State v. Stump, 185 Wn.2d 454 (2016) (reversing imposition of appellate costs where defendant's attorney moved to withdraw and no merits brief was filed); State v. Dye, 178 Wn.2d 541 (2013) (addressing due process issues raised by use of comfort animals in court); and State v. Ibarra Guevara, 172 Wn. App. 184 (2012) (reversing conviction because police invaded child’s privacy without authority of law in violation of article I, section 7 of the Washington Constitution). Jan earned her B.A. at Tufts and her J.D. at Boston College.

Marla Zink
Marla Zink joined the Washington Appellate Project in 2010, and handles appeals in both state and federal court. Marla previously worked as an associate attorney at K&L Gates and served as a law clerk to Judge Robert R. Beezer at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She serves on the board of directors of Lawyers Helping Hungry Children, is a past executive committee member of the King County Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section, and has mentored young people through the Future of the Law Institute. Marla’s significant cases include State v. Bigsby, ___ Wn.2d ___, 2017 WL 3428962 93987-0 (2017) (Holding trial court lacked statutory authority to impose sanctions for community custody violations); State v. Grisby, 181 Wn.2d 564 (2014) (reversing convictions for violation of the constitutional right to a public trial); and In re the Personal Restraint of Schley, 197 Wn. App. 862 (2017) (reversing because wrong standard of proof was used at hearing to revoke drug offender sentencing alternative). Marla earned her B.A. at Columbia and her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center.