Vancouver attorney asks for dismissal of case against John Ley

Vancouver Attorney Angus Lee filed motions regarding unlawful search of candidate’s text messages, invalid charging document and lack of evidence; hearing to be held Tue., Jan. 9.
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Angus Lee filed motions regarding unlawful search of candidate’s text messages, invalid charging document and lack of evidence; hearing to be held Tue., Jan. 9

VANCOUVER – In a strategic legal response, Vancouver Attorney Angus Lee, known for his forceful litigation style, has filed four significant motions in the case against former legislative candidate John Ley. The motions are set for hearing on Tue., Jan. 9.

John Ley
John Ley

Ley was charged with allegedly registering to vote and as a candidate in an incorrect voter district. Ley was arraigned on Nov. 28, when Lee entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. Ley was a Republican candidate for Washington state’s 18th Legislative District state representative Position No. 2 in 2022. 

The first of Lee’s motions filed challenges the legality of the search conducted by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, targeting the contents of Ley’s text message communications. The motion highlights three key areas of concern: the absence of a signed affidavit by the officer as required by the Constitution, the failure to disclose exculpatory information, and the overly broad scope of the warrant.

Attorney Angus Lee
Attorney Angus Lee

In a news release provided to Clark County Today Tuesday (Jan. 2), Lee indicated his motion contends that the warrant application was severely compromised by the officer’s failure to present vital exculpatory information to the court. This information included findings from County Auditor Greg Kimsey, and the investigating officer’s own assessment, that Ley believed his residency was legitimately established and did not intentionally lie.  Lee argues that this selective presentation of information misled the court, invalidating the warrant.

Angus Lee emphasizes, “Courts expect officers to provide complete and truthful information when applying for a warrant. Withholding relevant and exculpatory data invalidates the warrant, infringing upon constitutional rights.”

Lee stated in the statement that the motion further attacks the warrant for its unprecedented breadth, authorizing an intrusive search of all content of Ley’s communications without proper justification. Lee emphasizes the chilling effect such a broad warrant has on democratic engagement, stating, “The general nature of the warrant is a blatant violation of the First and Fourth Amendments, threatening the fundamental freedoms of political candidates and their supporters.”

Lee stresses the danger of such governmental actions in a democratic society: “We cannot tolerate a scenario where the government spies on political campaigns and scrutinizes candidate communications with their supporters. This broad warrant violates the First and Fourth Amendments, posing a threat to our democratic principles and individual liberties.”

The motion for dismissal cites a lack of evidence, based on statements from the primary investigating officer, who expressed belief in Ley’s truthfulness.  The officer’s probable cause statement in this case says “[a]s a result of my investigation and analysis, I do not believe John Ley intentionally lied.”  

“Charging someone with ‘knowingly’ submitting false applications when both the auditor and officer conclude the opposite defies logic,” Lee asserts.

Another motion demands the production of voter registration and candidacy documents related to Ley, suggesting they may be nonexistent.

In a final motion, Lee challenges the sufficiency of the charging document for lack of specificity and demands an amendment or a detailed bill of particulars. He criticizes the prosecution’s use of the pronoun “they” to refer to Mr. Ley, arguing it reflects a lack of precision and clarity.

Lee concludes, “This case goes beyond one candidate. It’s about upholding justice and ensuring fairness in our legal processes, particularly in politically charged scenarios.”

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.

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