For the last two decades, Mark has focused primarily on criminal defense. Mark has experience representing clients at trial, on direct appeal and in post-conviction proceedings in all types of criminal cases. He has represented clients throughout Washington State as well as in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon.
Mark has substantial trial experience. He has investigated, negotiated and tried all types of cases. Mark provides each client and their case with unwavering dedication, toughness and creativity. Although Mark is well-known for his work on capital murder cases, he has also successfully represented individuals charged with embezzlement, misdemeanors, serious felonies and juvenile matters.
Prior to forming Walsh & Larrañaga, Mark was chosen as the Director of Washington state’s first Death Penalty Assistance Center (DPAC). DPAC provides resources, consultation and training to attorneys working on capital murder cases throughout Washington. Mark has coordinated, participated and presented at national and international seminars. He has lectured on topics ranging from trial investigation, capital jury selection, representing clients with mental health disabilities, psychology and the law, legal ethics, prosecutorial misconduct, and successful trial strategies.
Mark is approved by the Washington State Supreme Court for appointment as lead counsel in death penalty trials, direct appeals, and post-conviction. He is also deemed "learned counsel" under 18 U.S.C §3005 for appointment as lead counsel in capital charges in federal court.
Because of his experience, Mark was asked to be a member of the Washington State Bar Association’s Death Penalty Sub-committee, which was tasked to review current practices, procedures and protocols of criminal defense attorneys throughout Washington State. The committee generated a report on Washington’s death penalty that has been extensively referenced and cited.
Mark was also asked to be an expert contributor to an extensive study conducted by Seattle University School of Law and Criminal Justice Department. The study was a scholarly report on the cost of Washington’s death penalty system. The report has been referenced and cited nationally and relied upon by legislatures, judges and politicians.
Cases and Opinions:
Some of his cases include:
- State of Washington v. Wilson, 181 P.3d 887, (2008), Washington State Court of Appeals reverses murder conviction because trial court abused its discretion in admitting improper evidence and inadmissible statements in violation of Miranda rights.
- State v. Pierce, 280 P.3d 1158, (2012), Washington State Court of Appeals reverses two counts of murder because of prosecutor misconduct and the trial court improperly admitting statements that were obtained in violation of the right to counsel.
- In Re Personal Restraint Petition of Meining (2008), Washington State Court of Appeals, based solely on the briefing, invalided a judgment and sentence to murder because the plea of guilt was entered without properly being advised of potential consequences.
- Longo v. Premo, 355 Or 525 (2014), Oregon State Supreme Court ruled that a post-conviction petitioner has a right and privilege to prevent the government from disclosing confidential communication and thus the trial court erred in not granting the petitioner’s request for a protective order.
- Longo v. Premo, Appointed to represent an individual on an Oregon State capital post-conviction proceeding.
- State v. Scherf, Appointed under SPRC Rule 2 to represent defendant on his appeal of his death sentence in the Washington State Supreme Court.
- State v. Haq 166 Wn.App. 221 (2012), Argued appeal of aggravated first degree murder to the Washington State Court of Appeals.
- State v. Zhao, 157 Wn.2d 88 (2006), authored Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of Washington Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys arguing that prosecutor’s policy that hinders defense from properly investigating is unconstitutional.
- State v. Pierce (2012), appointed under SPRC Rule 2 to represent an individual charged with aggravated first degree murder in Port Townsend, Washington.
- State v. Cross (1999), appointed pursuant to SPRC Rule 2 to represent an individual charged with capital murder in Seattle, Washington.
- USA v. Keyes (2013) appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C §3005 to represent an individual charged with capital murder in federal District Court, Anchorage, Alaska.
- USA v. Duncan (2007), appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C §3005 to represent an individual facing capital murder in federal District Court of Idaho.
- People v. Owens (2010), appointed to represent an individual sentenced to death on his appeal in Arapahoe, Colorado.
- Browning v. Baker (2011), appointed to represent an individual federal District Court of Nevada on a capital 18 U.S.C. §2254 habeas petition.
- State v. Sanchez (2011), dismissal of fifty count theft and racketeering indictment.
- State v. Griffith (2012), dismissal of multiple count drug charges.
Articles and Reports:
Mark has authored the following articles:
- Death Qualified: Addressing the Perils of Jury Selection in Death Penalty Cases. Washington Criminal Defense, November 2002, Vol. 16, No. 4.
- Is Washington that Different than Illinois? New arguments in death penalty cases. Washington Criminal Defense, May 2003, Vol. 17, No. 2.
- Where Are We Heading? Trends of Washington State's Death Penalty (2004).
- Preventing Wrongful Convictions: Using Recommendations of the Illinois
Commission on Capital Punishment in Trial Practice. Washington Criminal Defense, November 2003, Vol. 18. No.4.
- Washington's Death Penalty System: A Review of the Cost, Length, and Results of Capital Cases in Washington State. Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, November 2005.
- Blakely: New legislation raises new issues. Washington Criminal Defense, August 2005, Vol. 19 No.3.
- Final Report of the Death Penalty Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Defense, Washington State Bar Association (2007)(co-author)
- An Analysis of the Economic Costs of Seeking the Death Penalty in Washington State, Seattle University (2015)(co-author)
Trainings and Seminars
Mark has presented, participated or attended the following criminal defense training seminars:
- Mental Health Issues in Defense Litigation: Presentation on mental health issues that surface in criminal defense — Washington Defender Association, Seattle, Washington (2004).
- An overview and introduction into Washington’s Death Penalty Statute: Discussed Revised Washington Code (RCW) 10.95 and Superior Court Special Sentencing Proceeding Rules (SPRC) — Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, Spokane, Washington (2004).
- Wrongful Convictions — 10th Annual Criminal Justice Institute, Washington State Bar Association, Seattle, Washington (2003).
- How to use Governor Ryan’s Illinois Commission Recommendations in non-capital cases — Washington Defenders Association, Seattle, Washington (2003).
- A comparison of Washington’s death penalty system to that of the State of Illinois — Seattle University School of Law/Amnesty International, Seattle, Washington (2003, 2004).
- A panel discussion about the changes in capital appointments and representation — Judicial Conference, Spokane, Washington. (2003).
- Discussed attorneys’ legal obligation to investigate, prepare, and present mitigation evidence in capital cases — Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, Seattle, Washington (2002).
- “Psychology and the Law” at the University of Washington, Bothell Campus. Discussed the representation of clients suffering from mental health issues, including areas of client competency, insanity, and diminished capacity — Seattle, Washington (2002).
- How to Get Funding for a Jury Advisor in a Non-Capital Case — Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, Seattle, Washington (2004).
- Washington’s Death Penalty Statute and Recent Case Law — Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, Seattle, Washington (2006).
- Issues Surrounding Identification Procedures — Washington Defenders Association, Sun Mountain, WA (2009).
- Issues in Raising Competence — Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, Seattle, Washington (2009)
- Issues in Raising Competence — Montana Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Chico Hot Springs, Prey, Montana (2009).
- Faculty — Capital Defense Penalty Resource Conference (Kansas City, MO). Multi-day “bring-your-case” seminar. Exclusively dedicated to capital case representation (2009).
- Raising Competence — Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, Spokane, WA (2013).
- Raising Competence — Washington Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Seattle, Washington (2013).
- International Academy of Mental Health and the Law: Bias and Race in the Courtroom — Amsterdam, Netherlands, (2013)
- A Matter of Life and Death: An Overview of the Death Penalty in Washington State — Olympia, Washington (2014)
- Reframing Our Approach — Representing Clients with Mental Health Issues, Washington Defenders Association, Seattle, Washington (2014)
- Traumatic Brain Injury — Capital Defense Seminar, Monterey, California (2015)
- Understanding Your Client’s Addictions — Capital Defense Seminar, Monterey, California (2015)
Associations and Awards:
- Washington State Bar Association
- Oregon State Bar Association
- California State Bar Association
- Federal District Court
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Death Penalty Sub-committee
- Washington State Bar Association "Blue Ribbon Panel" and "Death Penalty Sub-
Committee" (2002 - 2007)
- Washington State Bar Association “Counsel on Public Defense” (2010 – present)
- June 2003 - Recipient of Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's
Certificate of Appreciation.
- March 2005 - Recipient of Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's
"Abolition of the Year Award."