In 2000, Eduardo Sandoval was sentenced to 75 years in prison for a crime that occurred when he was 18 years old. Eduardo was part of a Tacoma, Wash., gang that committed a drive-by shooting. His sole alleged role was as a lookout.
Eduardo was the only defendant to plead not guilty to the crime and maintained his innocence throughout the trial, but he was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder under a theory of accomplice liability, conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, and first-degree assault.
The team of Christine Hawkins, Kate Tylee Herz, and Nathan Rouse submitted a personal-restraint petition on Eduardo’s behalf. They won a partial victory in the Washington State Supreme Court, with Kate arguing the case. The Supreme Court reversed Eduardo’s murder conviction and remanded the murder charge for a new trial. The court affirmed Eduardo’s convictions for conspiracy and assault.
In 2018, Eduardo’s team filed a motion for reconsideration regarding the conviction for conspiracy to commit murder, and the Supreme Court took the rare step of ordering the State to respond. Prior to that response, the team negotiated an agreement with the State for a reduced sentencing. The agreement specified that the State could argue for a 26-year sentence and Eduardo’s team could argue for a 20-year sentence.
At an emotional hearing in Pierce County Superior Court, with Nathan arguing on Eduardo’s behalf, the court sentenced Eduardo to just 21 years, eight of which he has already served.
Jeff Coopersmith provided valuable assistance and supervision to the team.