Updated: Feb. 10, 2020

Criminal Law Section

The Criminal Law Section seeks the participation of the Bar, including prosecutors and defense counsel, by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas in the areas of criminal law, correction, procedure, and evidence. The section works with pending legislation and development of statutory enactments to improve and facilitate the administration of justice within the criminal arena.

With an equal number of defense and prosecuting attorney positions, the executive board champions the rights of both the accused and victims in the criminal justice system. Activities include publishing a newsletter, as well as assisting with the Criminal Law Institute.

Annual Report  |  Budget  |  Bylaws  |  Year in Review

Criminal Justice Institute Scholarships

The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) is a professional development program that is open to Defense, Prosecution, Law Enforcement and Judges. This year the CJI takes place on Oct, 3-4, 2019 at The Conference Center Inside the Sea-Tac International Airport. The WSBA Criminal Law Section hosts the event which covers a wide range of topics pertinent to the practice of criminal law. Scholarships are available and are awarded based on need and availability.

The CJI offers 12 CLE credits, including 2 ethics credits.

The Executive Comittee of the Criminal Law Section reviews applications for scholarships for the CLE and grants up to five scholarships to the Defense Bar and five Scholarships to Prosecutors. (Other participants are also eligible). Each recipient is responsible for her or his own travel and lodging expenses. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please complete the following information and send it to Josephine Townsend, Chair of the Criminal Law Section at  Josie@JCTownsend.com or fax it to her at 360-694-7602. Applications must be received by Sept. 15, 2019.  

Please include your name, phone number, email, mailing address, bar number, date of admission, and reason for your request in your submission. The board will review all applications submitted and vote on who will receive the scholarships. Recipients will be notified by Sept. 20.  

Congratulations New Executive Committee Members!


All terms begin Oct. 1, 2019.

Chair-elect (Defense): one-year term ending Sept. 30, 2020

Josephine Townsend

Secretary/Treasurer: one-year term ending Sept. 30, 2020

Jim Hershey

At-Large Member (Defense): three-year terms ending Sept. 30, 2022

Mary Kay High

Edwin Aralica

At-Large Member (Prosecution): three-year terms ending Sept. 30, 2022

Hugh Birgenheier

Anita Petra

NEW Criminal Caselaw Notebook for Free

As a benefit to Criminal Law Section members, you can download the Criminal Caselaw Notebook 2019, prepared by the Honorable Ron Kessler.  If you are having trouble accessing the documents, contact sections@wsba.org.


May 2016  │  January 2016  │  January 2015

Archived issues are available to section members upon request. To request an issue, please email sections@wsba.org.

Executive Committee

Terms run Oct. 1, 2018–Sept. 30, 2019, unless otherwise noted

Interim ChairJosephine Townsend

Immediate Past Chair: Hugh Birgenheier

Young Lawyer Liaison: Paul Shelton*

Board of Governors Liaison: Kim Hunter*

Committee Members

Three-year term unless otherwise noted

Representing Defense

Vacant (Jan. 2016–Sept. 2019)
Edwin Aralica (Jan. 2016–Sept. 2019)
John Strait (Jan. 2017–Sept. 2020)
Aimee Sutton (Jan. 2017–Sept. 2020)
Adam McGerty (Oct. 2018-Sept. 2021)
Mark E. Vovos (Oct. 2018-Sept. 2021)

Representing Prosecution

Jim Hershey (Jan. 2016–Sept. 2019)
Anita Petra (March 2016–Sept. 2019)
Angelle Marie Gerl (Oct. 2018-Sept. 2020)
Philip Sanchez (Jan. 2017–Sept. 2020)
Amy Jaquette (Oct. 2018-Sept. 2021)
Dale Slack (Oct. 2018-Sept. 2021)

*Non-voting member


The Executive Committee of the Criminal Law Section conducts meetings from time to time. As meetings are scheduled, details will appear in the events section of this page.

Please contact committee member for any other details on their upcoming meetings and locations.

Join Our List Serve

To join the section list serve and for general questions, please send your email address and Bar number to sections@wsba.org. For more information and to get involved with the section, please contact the section chair, Josephine Townsend.