At its October 1, 2013 conference, the Washington Supreme granted review to four cases. We provide a summary of the issues presented in each case below.

State v. Owens
Supreme Court No. 88905-8
Court of Appeals No. 67867–1–I
PFR & Answer

Issue:

Whether the Court of Appeals properly reversed a conviction for First Degree Trafficking in Stolen Property where:

  • the trial court instructed the jury to consider seven alternative means of committing the crime;
  • the trial court failed to either instruct the jury that they must reach unanimous agreement as to each alternative means or provide a special verdict form; and
  • the appellate court determined that at least one of the alternative means was not supported by substantial evidence.

State v. Condon
Supreme Court No. 88854-0
Court of Appeals No. 29710-1-III
State’s PFR
Answer

Issues:

  1. Did Condon’s conviction for aggravated first-degree murder infringe his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process because it was based on insufficient evidence of premeditation?
  2. Did the trial judge’s refusal to instruct on second-degree intentional murder violate Condon’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and his state constitutional right to a jury trial?

State v. Mendes
Supreme Court No. 88945-7
Court of Appeals No. 42161-5-II

Issues:

  1. Whether the trial court erred in declining defendant’s request for a ruling on whether defendant was entitled to self-defense instruction based on the State’s evidence alone, when such evidence established the defendant was the initial aggressor when he entered the decedent’s house uninvited, pointed a gun, and threatened to shoot the unarmed decedent.
  2. Whether the trial court compelled the defendant to testify by declining to rule whether the State’s evidence alone entitled him to a self-defense instruction, thereby violating the defendant’s constitutional rights to silence.

State v. Blazina
Supreme Court No. 89028-5
Court of Appeals No. 42728-1-II

Issues:

  1. Whether a criminal defendant has shown good cause to overcome the presumption that juror information is private when the criminal defendant shows that jurors assume a defendant’s guilt based not on the prosecution’s evidence, but on the credibility of the defendant’s witnesses.
  2. Whether the trial court erred in finding that the defendant has the present or future ability to pay his legal financial obligations.