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State bar to honor Clark posthumously

Spokane lawyer John Clark will be honored posthumously this week by the Washington State Bar Association.

Clark's wife, Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark, and son, Steven Clark, will accept Local Hero Award on his behalf Friday during a meeting of the WSBA Board of Governors at the Davenport Hotel. 

Also honored will be Spokane lawyer Paul B. Mack.

Clark, a legendary local defense lawyer known for representing clients pro bono, died of cancer last October. He was 58.

“John was always an advocate for the oppressed and downtrodden,” according to a prepared statement by his law partners, James Domanico and Robert Crary. “He exemplified his professionalism by giving back to the community, his friends and his clients, who would soon become his friends. John was instrumental in changing the law on a number of occasions and was also first in line to help a fellow attorney.”

Said Spokane County Public Defender John Rodgers, “All of my contacts with John and the many people he influenced reflect a person whose candor, diligence and motives surpassed our highest standards of professionalism and greatly benefited on our legal community.”

In March 2010, the Spokane County Bar Association presented Clark with the Smithmoore P. Myers Professionalism Award; the same month, Clark was named an honorary member of the Spokane County Public Defender’s Office.

Defense lawyer John Clark dead at 58

The common man has lost one of his best advocates.

John Clark, a prominent local defense attorney, died this morning following a long battle with cancer. He was 58.

Earlier this year, the Spokane Bar Association honored Clark with the 2010 Smithmoore P. Myers Professionalism Award for Clark’s passion in working — often without pay — to help residents in legal trouble.

“There was once a comment made by Gandhi,” said Robert Crary, Clark’s partner of 30 years told The Spokesman-Review in March “that nobody is beyond redemption. It’s the way (Clark) looks at the world.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Courthouse watch: 7.30.09

No material from convicted killer Shellye Stark’s former lawyer’s files will go to prosecutors seeking a murder conviction against her married boyfriend  because the material could be critical to Stark’s appeal, a judge ruled today.

Spokane County Superior Judge Ellen Kalama Clark dodged a legal debate posed by state appeals lawyer Gregory Link and Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell when she declined to quash a subpoena that she herself had granted two weeks ago.

Instead of addressing the legality of the subpoena, she said she was quashing the subpoena because she’d seen the materials and had decided they couldn’t be used.

In her decision June 22, Clark had said she would sort through Russell Bradshaw’s files to see if there was information pertaining to Moore and private investigator Ted Pulver, the key witness in the case against Moore. Neither Haskell nor LInks has seen the material.

“I have an advantage over you gentlemen,” Clark said to Haskell and Links Thursday. “I have that infomation.”

By deeming all of the material too sensitive to Stark’s case to disclose, Clark avoided a legal debate about, essentially, a decision she’d already made -  whether material in one defendant’s case could be used in another’s.

She told the attorneys of her decisions after the debate because, “I wanted to hear what you had to say.” (Read a blog post about the legal filings here.)

Haskell said he believe the state’s case against Moore,  who’s accused of helping Stark with a plot to kill her husband, then of concocting a sordid tale of abuse to dupe police into thinking the killing was in self defense.

“It’s not helpful, but it is what it is,” Haskell said. “I think he still have a case.”

Moore, who was arrested in Orange County April 27 in a story you can can read here, appeared in court with Link (Stark’s appellate attorney), and Moore’s public defender, Jeff Compton.

“Excellent job,” Moore told the lawyers after the hearing.

His trial is set for Oct. 26.