The Supreme Court announced five opinions today. We will post further analysis of the most interesting of these cases in later blog posts.

Futureselect Portfolio Mgmt., Inc. v. Tremont Grp. Holdings, Inc. : The Court reversed a trial court dismissal of a lawsuit by a Washington entity against an out of state defendant related to the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. The Court embraced a broad view of the proper reach of Washington’s “long arm” to haul in to Washington courts a defendant related to the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme and to apply Washington choice of law rather than New York law.  Having rejected outright dismissal, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether the facts of this case support specific jurisdiction and application of Washington substantive law.  The case makes for fun summer reading for civil procedure fans like us.

State v. Witherspoon : 5 members of the Court upheld the imposition of a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a “persistent offender” defendant who was convicted of second degree robbery.  Justice Gordon McCloud wrote a partial dissent for four Justices that systematically challenges the legality and logic of allowing a second degree robbery conviction to form the basis of a lifetime in prison.  Readers interested in criminal justice would be well served to read the partial dissent and its accompanying chart compiling persistent offender statutes.  I would have liked to read a discussion of the moral implications of putting a person in jail for the rest of his life because “three strikes and you’re out.” That works for Felix Hernandez.  It shouldn’t be how we operate the criminal justice system.

State v. Bauer : A man whose girlfriend’s child took his loaded gun to school could not be convicted of third degree assault when the gun discharged and injured a student at the school.

State v. Villanueva-Gonzalez : Two assault convictions violate double jeopardy when based on the same course of conduct.

In Re Pers. Restraint of Thomas : The Court found good reasons not to decide whether a 999 month sentence is functionally equivalent to a life sentence for a juvenile offender, which would be constitutionally prohibited.