Saturday, May 10, 2008

Washington State Case Law Update

Supreme Court

State v. Becklin: The court held that a trial court's response in the affirmative to a jury question regarding whether stalking could be accomplished through directing a third party to harass the victim was an accurate statement of the law, and that it was not improper for the judge to issue the answer after jury deliberations had begun, given that both parties had argued the issue to the jury. A copy of the decision may be viewed at: State v. Becklin

State v. Gatewood: The court held that officers did not have specific articulable facts indicating criminal activity observing that the defendant looked surprised as the officers passed the bus stop where he was sitting, turned his body to the right as if to hide something and then, after they had circled back to follow the defendant, observed him walking away from their patrol car. The court found that the officers conducted an impermissible speculative criminal investigation when they subsequently performed a nonconsensual seizure of the defendant, and suppressed all evidence after the stop. A copy of the decision may be viewed at: State v. Gatewood

State v. Weyrich: The Court allowed vacation of a guilty plea when the defendant had not been informed of the possible statutory maximum sentence under the plea, holding that the statutory maximum sentence was a direct consequence of the plea. A copy of the decision may be viewed at: State v. Weyrich

Division One Court of Appeals

State v. Reeves: The Court held that a notebook of photographs depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct in violation of RCW 9.68A.070 did not count as a single unit of prosecution, rather, the court adhered to prior holdings finding that the crime was a unit of prosecution for each photograph, and that prosecuting in such a manner was not a violation of double jeopardy. A copy of the decision may be found at: State v. Reeves

Division Two Court of Appeals

State v. Jones: The defendant's conviction was reversed by the Court, which found that the prosecutor had committed prejudicial misconduct denying the defendant a fair trial by improperly bolstering the credibility of the informant and the arresting officer during closing argument, improperly cross-examining the arresting officer regarding why the informant did not testify, and asserting in closing argument that the informant did not testify because he was afraid of the defendant. A copy of the decision may be viewed at: State v. Jones

Division Three Court of Appeals

State v. Bashaw: Defendant's conviction for selling methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop was upheld by the Court, which found that use of a measuring wheel was appropriate to determine the distance of the sale from the bus stop, and that the jury instruction properly required jury unanimity to impose the sentencing enhancement. A copy of the decision may be viewed at: State v. Bashaw

State v. Montes-Malindas: The Court held that the arresting officers conducted a pretextual stop when they stoped a van for driving without its headlights illuminated, despite the fact that the van had turned its headlights on prior to the stop, based on earlier observations of suspicious behavior of the van's occupants in a parking lot. A copy of the decision may be viewed at: State v. Montes-Malindas

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