Peter Offenbecher is a principal in the firm. His
practice focuses on criminal defense in federal and state courts. For
over 35 years, Peter has provided the highest quality legal
representation to clients facing the full spectrum of state and
federal criminal charges. Peter provides legal advice to businesses
and individuals facing investigations and inquiries from federal and
state regulatory agencies, as well as vigorous representation at the
trial and appellate stages of the criminal justice system.
Peter is admitted to practice in the federal and state courts in
Washington and California. He is also admitted to practice before the
United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for
the Ninth Circuit. Peter’s professional activities have included
appointment to the Washington Supreme Court committees on pattern jury
instructions and qualifications of lawyers in death penalty cases.
Peter has been a frequent presenter on topics of interest to
criminal defense lawyers and is an active member of professional
organizations, including the Washington Association of Criminal
Defense Lawyers. Since 2001, Washington Law and Politics magazine has
awarded Peter its “Super Lawyer” designation for white
collar criminal defense.
Peter’s Selected Trial Court Work
- United States v. Y.M., No. 06-00437-RSM
(federal criminal prosecution for violation of customs and
export/import regulations after defendant, who was subject to a
Commerce Department Export Denial Order, exported military-style
goods to Macedonia; jury hung strongly in favor of acquittal after
which case dismissed with prejudice).
- In re Major Educational Health Care Organization
(representation of Manager of Regulatory Compliance for major
regional medical organization regarding wide-ranging federal grand
jury investigation of alleged extensive health care fraud; two
physician chiefs of major departments pled guilty to felony crimes;
no charges filed against Peter’s client).
- In re Luxury Product Importing Corporation
(representation of luxury product importing business in
five-year federal grand jury investigation based on allegations of
pervasive violations of Customs, Commerce Department, and Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm regulations; case resolved by civil
penalty; no criminal charges filed).
- In re State University Foundation
(with law partner,
represented University Foundation in all aspects of the failed
effort by the Foundation to construct a new urban campus for the
University; the matter was long and complex, involving civil and
criminal claims against the Foundation’s attorneys and University’s
executives; there was a state Attorney General investigation, a
Federal Grand Jury investigation, state bar investigations, and
protracted civil litigation against the developer, law firms, and
others. We conducted the internal investigations and represented
the Foundation in more than four years of investigations, litigation,
and grand jury proceedings.)
- United States v. Y.M.
(federal criminal prosecution for
violation of customs and export and import regulations after
defendant, who was subject to a Commerce Department Export Denial
Order, exported military-style goods to Macedonia; jury hung
strongly in favor of acquittal; case dismissed with prejudice).
- United States v. J.C. (federal
criminal prosecution of Canadian citizen for participation in a
conspiracy to smuggle marijuana across the border by helicopter;
case dismissed during hearing on motion to suppress evidence after
defense investigation and cross examination disclosed serious
credibility issues with arresting border patrol agents).
- State v. P.S.
(state criminal prosecution of police officer for videotaped alleged
assault of female teenager in custody at police station; two jury
trials ended in hung juries; prosecution finally dismissed after
second jury hung 11-1 for acquittal).
- Seattle v. J.L.
(state criminal prosecution of police
officer for videotaped alleged assault of suspect during street
arrest; case dismissed after prosecution expert changed his opinion
during questioning by defense counsel).
- P.J. v. T.W.
(federal habeas corpus proceeding on behalf of state prisoner
sentenced to death; the district court vacated the conviction and
sentence because of juror misconduct; the case was eventually
settled in state superior court for a sentence of life without
- D.L.R. v. T.W. (federal habeas
corpus proceeding on behalf of state prisoner sentenced to death;
this case involved eight years of discovery and evidentiary hearings
in United States District Court, a personal restraint petition in
the Washington Supreme Court, and three separate sets of appeals and
cross-appeals in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, including a
successful defense of the State’s interlocutory appeal of the
district court’s discovery orders; in 1997, the district court
vacated the conviction and death sentence, after which the case was
settled in state superior court for a sentence of life without
- United States v. D.L.
(federal criminal prosecution of
Canadian citizen for transporting large amounts of marijuana across
the border in specially manufactured secret compartments of
defendant’s truck; case dismissed on motion of Government after
defense presentation of evidence demonstrated defendant’s
- S.W. v. D.S.H.S.
(federal habeas corpus petition by
insanity acquittee incarcerated at state mental hospital for twenty
years; this case involved years of collateral litigation in
Washington state courts, including state habeas proceedings and
evidentiary hearings in Superior Court, two appeals to the
Washington Court of Appeals, and a State’s Petition for Review
to the Washington Supreme Court; in 2003, the underlying judgment
was vacated and Mr. W. was released from the state hospital).
- United States v. A.A., et al.
prosecution of three Russian citizens for extortion (audio-taped by
the FBI) alleged to have occurred during a goodwill wrestling tour
through the Northwest; all three defendants were acquitted).
- United States v. R.C., et al.
(federal criminal prosecution of two defendants for satellite
television signal piracy, where both defendants were convicted of
some counts and acquitted of the others; all convictions were
reversed and Peter’s client’s statements were suppressed
on appeal, after which all charges against Peter’s client were
- United States v. R.V.
(in 2000, federal district court judge modified terms of supervised
release to permit Rastafarian defendant to use marijuana for
religious ceremonial purposes while on federal probationary
supervision after finding that imposition of any sanction for
marijuana use would violate the federal Religious Freedom
- United States v. N.B.
(environmental research scientist charged with violating Navy base
security regulations for skin diving in prohibited waters to obtain
biological samples acquitted at trial after district court found
that federal regulations failed to give adequate notice of
- United States v. A.H.
(district court granted defendant’s
motion to suppress confession and physical evidence seized from
defendant’s person because arrest was in violation of Fourth
- United States v. J.S., 649
F. Supp. 1065 (E.D. Wash. 1986) (federal district court granted
defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of methamphetamine lab
seized by state law enforcement authorities under color of state
search warrant; court found that violation of state law controlled and
compelled suppression in this federal criminal prosecution even though
application of federal search and seizure law might require a
Selected Published Appellate Court Work
- United States v. E.J., No. CR 95-152 WD
(federal criminal prosecution for manslaughter where Peter’s client handed her
daughter a gun to shoot an assaultive boyfriend; Ms. J. was
convicted at trial; the conviction was first affirmed on appeal by a
three-judge panel, United States
v. E.J., 139 F.3d 748 (9th Cir. 1998), then reversed by an
eleven-judge panel for failure to permit the defense counsel to introduce
documentary evidence corroborating her trial testimony in United States v. E.J., 169 F.3d 1210 (9th
Cir. 1999) (en banc), after which the indictment was
dismissed with prejudice). Peter served as appellate counsel as
well as trial counsel.
- United States v. E.H.,
189 F.3d 785 (9th Cir. 1999) (federal criminal conviction reversed for violation of
federal constitutional right to venue in the district where the
crime occurred). Peter served as appellate counsel as well as trial
- United States v. A.P.,
183 F.3d 1014 (9th Cir. 1999) (federal criminal judgment and sentence vacated because
application of United States Sentencing Guideline violated statute prohibiting sentencing enhancement for conviction as
to which defendant’s civil rights had been restored by the
state). Peter served as appellate counsel as well as trial counsel.
- United States v. Doe,
53 F.3d 1081 (9th Cir. 1995) (federal criminal judgment revoking supervised release and
imposing sentence vacated because a juvenile sentence under the Federal Juvenile Act may not include a period of
supervised release in the absence of specific statutory
authorization). Peter served as appellate counsel as well as trial
- United States v. G.L.,
963 F.2d 243 (9th Cir. 1992) (federal criminal conviction reversed;
a suspect’s request for counsel to state police also invokes
his right to counsel when questioned by the FBI for a different
offense). Peter served as appellate counsel as
well as trial counsel.
- United States v. E. D.-M.,
951 F.2d 1063 (9th Cir. 1991) (federal criminal conviction reversed;
a defendant is entitled to a hearing to determine whether a Speedy
Trial Act dismissal should be with or without prejudice). Peter served as appellate counsel as
well as trial counsel.
- E.C. v. D.,
99 Wn.2d 373, 662 P.2d 828 (1983) (order of civil commitment vacated; superior court may not revoke
or modify order of commitment in absence of violation of terms of release; strict compliance with statutory requirements
- State v. M.W.,
30 Wash. App. 162, 632 P.2d 913 (1981) (state criminal conviction reversed; defendant has the
right to cross-examine the complaining witness concerning her intent to file a civil action for damages against the
defendant’s employer based on the facts of the alleged
|“Overcoming Obstacles to Discovery and Investigation in a
Federal Criminal Case”
|“Ethical Challenges in the Difficult Criminal Case:
Lessons from Modern Literature”
|“Ethical Issues in the Practice of Criminal Defense”
for Oregon Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
|“Criminal Enforcement and Regulatory Compliance for Design
Professionals: Understanding and Managing the Risks”
|“A Healthy Practice: Preventative Measures To Keep Your
Livelihood Out Of Intensive Care”
|“Litigating Special Adminis/trative Measures in Terrorist
|“Effective Use of Interpreters in a Criminal Case”
|“Affirmative Defenses in Federal Court”
|“Ethical Considerations in Representing Government
|“Federal Bail Reform Act: Detention and Preliminary
|“Defense and Prosecution Ethical Obligations of
|“Oral Advocacy on Appeal”
|“Dealing with Prosecutor Misconduct”
|“The New Federalism: Retooling the Pretext Doctrine”
206 790-3675 cell
Areas of Practice
- White Collar Criminal Defense
- Criminal Defense
- Defense of Attorney Discipline Proceedings
- B.A., Political Economy, awarded summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Colorado College, 1976.
- Lawyer of the Year for Seattle in the area of White Collar Criminal Defense—U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers in America List—September 2014