Gonzaga Law 3L Impresses Court of Appeals

October 26, 2017

October 18 was a typical day for most people—a Wednesday, hump day, 13 days before Halloween’s candy fest. But for Gonzaga Law 3L Grant Reynolds, October 18 marked his debut oral argument before the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III. Reynolds got this opportunity as an intern in Gonzaga Law’s clinical program which runs the University Legal Services within the Center for Law and Justice. Under Professor and Clinic Director Gail Hammer’s tutelage ULA clinical interns represent clients at all levels of the dispute-resolution process and, under supervision, take the cases to trial or appeal. Gonzaga Law clinical interns were the first interns in the state of Washington to try criminal felony cases, the first to try cases in the Federal Court and to argue in the Courts of Appeal.

Reynolds faced a hot bench of Judges Kevin Korsmo, Laurel Siddoway, and Rebecca Pennell. Reynolds fielded questions involving long-arm jurisdiction and the statutory construction of Washington’s Domestic Violence Protection Act and Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. When the oral argument was ended, Reynolds had spent most of his allotted 15 minutes responding to the questions peppered from the bench. After the case was concluded, both the opposing attorney and Judge Korsmo congratulated Reynolds on his presentation and two law clerks commented that his performance was on par with licensed practitioners. Professors Inga Laurent and Kim Hai Pearson helped Reynolds prepare for oral argument along with Professor Gail Hammer who is the Interim Clinic Director.

Reynolds argued on behalf of Stacy Clifford who fled from Florida to her family in Benton County, WA in December 2015. See: Clifford v. Clifford, 34087-2-III. Her then-husband’s arrest for domestic battery by Florida law enforcement, the most recent in a long history of domestic violence during the relationship, prompted her flight. When Stacy and the couple’s three children arrived in Benton County, Stacy filed for an order of protection for herself and the three children; the Superior Court exercised emergency jurisdiction and heard the case. See: Clifford v. Clifford, Benton Cty Cause No. 15-2-02849-6. Douglas’ attorney appeared and argued that the superior court did not have jurisdiction to decide the case. Douglas also advised the court that he had filed for divorce in Florida.

The Benton County Superior Court granted the order of protection on January 15, 2016 that would be effective through January 16, 2017 for Stacy and the three children. After conferring with the Florida family law court in July 2016, the superior court modified the protection order to cover only Stacy. Douglas appealed the Benton County Superior Court’s finding that it had jurisdiction over Stacy and the three children. The Court took the case under advisement and will issue an opinion in the future.