SEATTLE – In the year and a half before he was shot and wounded outside his office, lawyer Kevin Jung's (search) letters and court filings detailed his growing frustration with a rival attorney now accused of gunning him down.
Jung was maddened by William R. Joice's (search) repeated failure to provide documents in a contract dispute, by Joice's spotty attendance at court hearings and by what Jung called the sloppiness of some documents Joice did provide. The letters, faxes and filings culminated last month, when Jung asked that Joice be found in contempt and fined $2,000.
A hearing on the contempt motion was scheduled for Wednesday. But that morning, police allege that Joice drove a rented Pontiac into the parking lot at Jung's office in a Seattle suburb, pointed a gun out the driver-side window and shot Jung in the head as he sat in his Lexus (search).
Jung, a 44-year-old married father of two, remained in critical condition Thursday.
Meanwhile in Seattle, Joice, a 50-year-old former prosecutor, was ordered held on $5 million bail for investigation of attempted first-degree murder. Prosecutor Erin Ehlert said she asked for the high bail because Joice has money and might try to flee.
Court documents filed Thursday said Joice, a deputy in the Snohomish County prosecutor's office from 1991 to 2000, owned four registered guns, had a concealed-weapons permit and sometimes practiced shooting with members of a suburban police department.
Prosecutors have until Monday to file charges.
The shooting stunned Joice's former co-workers in the prosecutor's office, who described him as a gentleman.
A review of the court file in the contract dispute reveals Jung's frustration with Joice. Jung represented a Korean-American couple who opened a franchise of a store owned by another Korean-American couple, represented by Joice.
"You and your clients' failure to comply with court rules and unprofessional conduct on your part are just incomprehensible, as you have never been timely on any response due," Jung wrote to Joice last Aug. 9.
"This is getting out of hand," he said in another letter three days later.
Court commissioners repeatedly punished Joice for missing hearings and failing to provide documents by forcing him to pay Jung's fees, to the tune of thousands of dollars. Most recently, Joice wrote Jung a check in mid-October for $4,382, to settle fees and fines imposed by the court.
The only explanation Joice offered for repeatedly missing deadlines and hearings came in a document filed Jan. 8. He said obtaining information from his clients took longer than expected because of their limited English, that he had missed one hearing because of a scheduling mistake and that one of his clients had recently been through a difficult pregnancy.
The dispute was scheduled to go to trial in February.
One of Joice's lawyers, Stephen Garvey, said he had not yet spoken with Joice about the shooting. But Garvey had seen the contentious letters.
"I know what I read in the court file," Garvey said. "What to make of it, I don't know yet."
Jung focused his practice on international business, real estate and immigration law. He regularly traveled to Seoul, where he has a liaison office.
He has represented some of the largest Korean multinational corporations, including the Samsung Group, writes newspaper columns and hosts a weekly legal program on a Korean television station.