Children are different than adults. No surprise there. That's why we forgive children for their crimes far more easily than we forgive adults. Again, no surprise there. That's also why the process for sealing your juvenile court records in Washington is much easier than sealing your adult re...
Prosecutors and judges treat sexual offenders but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be going to prison for a long time if you’ve been convicted of a sex offense in Washington. Under Washington law (RCW 9.94A.670), some sexual offenders may be eligible for Washington’s Special Sexual Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA).
“We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.” A legal purist would call Justice Robert Jackson’s famous remark about the U.S. Supreme Court a jaded opinion, but it’s legally accurate. Supreme Court justices are smart—very smart, in fact—but they’re not necessarily smarter or better writers than state supreme court judges or other appellate judges. But unlike every other judge, they get the final say.
You don’t have to talk the police, and the police can’t force you to talk to them. This illustrates one of the bedrock principles of our criminal justice system: the government generally has to leave you alone.
Can you be found guilty of possessing a stolen credit card in Washington after the card has been cancelled?
Sometimes, in the law, the “correct” legal decision ends up being the decision that simply makes logical sense.
For understandable reasons, the State punishes sex offenders severely. To see that you have to look no further than Washington’s sex offender registration laws. Sex offenders are required to register with the State and most sex offenders’ personal information is published online. Anyone with a computer can log into the Washington Sex Offender Registry database and find a sex offender’s name, offense, address, physical description, and a recent picture. Depending on the seriousness of their crime, sex offenders have to register for as many as 10 years after their release from jail or for the rest of their life.
Civil cases are about money. Criminal cases are about punishment. Usually, that is. Except when criminal cases are also about money. Sometimes, criminal cases are all about the money, like State v. Barbee, a Washington Supreme Court decided yesterday.
Under the Sixth Amendment, you have a constitutional right to represent yourself in a criminal case. But your constitutional right has limits--important limits.
If you’re charged with a crime in Washington (as in most states), you generally have two options: You can plead guilty, which means you give up your right to have a jury trial or a trial before a judge. Or you can exercise your right to a trial, forcing the State to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But in some cases, you can actually do both.
Most suspects don’t usually confess to serious crimes like attempted murder. David Morgan was no exception. That’s why Morgan—when he first spoke to police—didn’t admit to trying to murder his ex-wife by setting his own house on fire after she had come to over to pick up their child. But police didn’t need his confession. They had other damning evidence against him, including bloodstain pattern analysis of his clothing suggesting that he was in close proximity to his ex-wife when she suffered her injuries.
A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty, which means that we shouldn't put people in jail until they're found guilty. The State should put dangerous people in jail to protect the public. All Americans probably agree with one of those two statements and I bet that most Americans probably agree with both statements. So, when allegedly dangerous people are charged with crimes—before, obviously, they've been proven guilty—what do we do?
The American criminal justice system can be dizzyingly complex but a few simple rules underpin the whole system. The biggest one: a criminal defendant is presumed innocent and the government has to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the defendant does not have to prove innocence. The defendant could literally—and sometimes does literally—nothing the whole trial, and still wins Of course, most defendants do something in their own defense, but it may not involve testifying.
California has something for almost everyone—Disneyland for the kids, beaches for the adults, celebrities for the fans, and of course the weather. Tommie Davis also benefitted from his lengthy stay in California, but he wouldn’t know just how much until he ended up in a Washington court many years later.
Tell someone you’re on house arrest, and it sounds like a strict punishment. Tell someone you have to wear an ankle bracelet, but that it doesn’t prevent you from going to work, going to the store, and attending treatment, then it sounds less restrictive and oppressive, doesn’t it? If you’re on electronic home monitoring (EHM) in Washington, however, you fit in both categories.
Is there a conflict between Washington's Sentencing Reform Act and the Controlled Substances Statute?
To figure out what a statute means, judges engage in a process known as statutory interpretation. I could describe this process in a very sophisticated way, but here it is a nutshell: “Are the words clear? Then follow them.”
When people make mistakes but turn their life around, we tend to forgive, even if we don't forget. It's a natural human emotion. This overused cliché has embedded itself into Washington's criminal justice system in the way that we treat felony offenders and their criminal history.
1. Playground Rules The law surrounding self-defense in Washington has its roots in the culture of the elementary school playground. If a bigger bully picks a fight with you, you have the right to fight back and defend yourself.
When we think of domestic violence, we generally think of close family members or dating relationships. Husband punches wife. Girlfriend kicks boyfriend. Father slaps child. Under the law, however, the definition of DV is much broader. In Washington, you can be convicted of domestic violence if you assault anyone who is a “family or household member.”
No reasonable (or sane person) would walk into a courthouse, pull out $100,000 from his wallet, leave it on the counter with a note saying: “take it, it's yours.” And then walk away. Legally speaking, however, that's what Edward Jeglum did in January 2016.
For most of us, your driver's license is your basic form of identification. You want to prove you're 21, pull out your driver's license. You want to pick up your medication from the drug store, pull out your driver's license. And, of course, if a police officer stops you, you better pull out your driver's license.
To quickly summarize a large body of sociological research and opinions about punishment: Prison may not be the answer for criminal defendants who suffer from substance abuse problems. Prison may be the answer, however, for those defendants who commit serious felonies as opposed to minor misdemeanors. What about defendants who suffer from substance abuse but who also commit felonies? Enter the DOSA.
A Spokane police officer woke up, put on his uniform, and went to work. As it turns out, that was enough to convict Michael Connors of attempting to elude. a police vehicle, a Class C felony.