Republican, who was charged with allegedly registering to vote and as a candidate in an incorrect voter district, will be arraigned on Nov. 28
VANCOUVER — The Angus Lee Law Firm has filed a notice of appearance for John Ley in a case involving state criminal charges. Ley, charged with allegedly registering to vote and as a candidate in an incorrect voter district, will be arraigned on Nov. 28. At this hearing, Attorney Angus Lee will enter a plea of not guilty on Ley’s behalf, with future court dates to be scheduled.
John Ley was a Republican candidate for Washington state’s 18th Legislative District State Representative Position No. 2 in 2022.
Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik is a Democrat.
“These charges represent a clear case of political, selective, and unconstitutional retaliation against an individual participating in the political process,” said Attorney Angus Lee.
Historically, only three prosecutions have occurred in Washington state under the same statutes Ley is accused of violating (29A.84.130 and 311), with two of those prosecutions dating back over a century to 1912. Significantly, all three cases were later overturned by the courts.
“The absence of such prosecutions historically is no coincidence,” Lee explains. “County auditors and prosecutors traditionally let the public assess a candidate’s residency qualifications through the campaign process, preserving democracy by allowing voters to make the ultimate decision.”
Lee adds, “The traditional approach respects the democratic process, preventing prosecutors from arbitrarily deciding who can run for office now and in the future. It’s about fairness and upholding democratic values.”
The Revised Codes of Washington 29A.84.130 and 311 require definitive proof that a person knowingly and intentionally filed a voter or candidate application in what they knew to be the wrong jurisdiction.
Given the routine dismissal of public challenges to voter registration by county auditors statewide, the obvious perception of most people is that voter registration laws are flexible in application.
“Mr. Ley believed he was in compliance with the law, a belief supported by past decisions of the Clark County auditor,” Lee states. “Proving conscious wrongdoing in such cases is extraordinarily challenging, particularly when the lead detective didn’t seek Ley’s perspective before filing charges. The detective in this case did not even bother to ask Ley any questions or give him a chance to explain why he believed he was lawfully allowed to register where he did.”
Lee also highlights Washington’s Revised Code 9.94A.411(1)(b)(i), which advises against prosecution in cases where a law has been long unenforced “even though technically sufficient evidence to prosecute exists.” Lee stated, “Given the century-long history and sparse use of this law, coupled with its unsuccessful enforcement record, the filing of these charges appear selective, politically motivated, and contrary to the direction of the legislature to avoid prosecuting alleged violations of a statute rarely enforced.”
“The prosecution of John Ley is more than just about one individual; it’s a reflection of a disturbing trend where the justice system is leveraged against conservative political figures,” Lee concludes.
This case follows a growing trend of political prosecutions against conservatives. Recent local examples include the prosecutions of Joey Gibson, Kelly Carroll and William Wilson, all of whom Angus Lee represented successfully.
Joey Gibson, a conservative Senate candidate, was wrongly prosecuted merely for attending a protest in Portland. After a three-year legal battle, the case against him was dismissed.
Kelly Carroll, a conservative business owner in Clark County, organized a protest against the 2020 lockdowns. She was immediately prosecuted by the city of Vancouver, but her charges were later dismissed.
William “Billy” Wilson was prosecuted by Clark County in 2017 for driving his pickup with American flags away from Antifa rioters who were attacking him. Those charges were also later dismissed.
Angus Lee is a former elected county prosecutor. He handles criminal defense and civil rights cases in Southwest Washington and Oregon. Lee is a long-time advocate for body cameras and launched the first state-wide Washington voter initiative for body cameras. www.AngusLeeLaw.com
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