Prosecutor: Lewis County Cases Not Affected by Disgraced Attorney

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Lewis County should be spared any backlash, at least in two particularly notable cases, in the aftermath of a Seattle attorney’s resignation amid scandal this month. 

“We don’t think it will impact any of our cases,” Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer told the Chronicle Friday. 

John R. Crowley, who in Lewis County represented Brenda Wing in the manslaughter of a Vader toddler and Rick Riffe in the murders of Minnie and Ed Maurin, had a practice with offices in Seattle and Yakima. He resigned with the state bar association in lieu of discipline effective Sept. 18, the Tri-City Herald reported this week, after he was accused of defrauding clients. 

While the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys warned jurisdictions about how Crowley being effectively disbarred could jeopardize cases, Meyer said that it should not affect the outcomes of either the Wing or Riffe cases.  

Riffe was found guilty by a jury in 2013 of the Maurins’ murders and sentenced to 103 years in prison. 

“Mr. Riffe went to trial, he was convicted. That was a hotly contested case,” Meyer said. “The court of appeals has reviewed it and found nothing wrong with the conviction.”

Wing pleaded guilty in 2015 to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 34 ½ years. She appealed her sentencing on a technicality regarding the calculation of her offender score, which is used to determine the standard sentencing range for an offense, and won. 

The state appeals court has given Wing the chance to withdraw her plea and face a trial. She has been appointed a new attorney and has not yet appeared in Lewis County Superior Court since the appeals’ court’s ruling.

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