Tag: criminal procedure

You’re All Better Now: Courts Will Presume Defendants Are Competent After Treatment

In State v. Coley, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that defendants bear the burden of proof for establishing they are incompetent to stand trial after they complete therapeutic treatment designed to restore them to competency.  While the right to be competent during a criminal trial is grounded in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, … Continue Reading

No comprende? No problema. Washington’s Supreme Court accepts poor performance by defense lawyer who didn’t speak the same language as his client

In the Matter of the Personal Restraint of Gomez, the Washington Supreme Court rejected a collateral attack on a mother’s conviction for killing her child through abuse. The Court ruled that the Spanish-speaking client did not deserve a new trial even though her lawyer only spoke English and also represented the child’s father in a … Continue Reading

The Court Assumes that Husbands Know It’s Illegal to Hold their Wives Captive for 3 Days

In State v. Johnson, the Washington Supreme Court provided two rulings.  First, it unanimously held that a charging document does not need to provide legal definitions of all the concepts within it to provide constitutionally sufficient notice to the defendant. Second, it ruled 7-2 that a jury must only be given a general criminal law … Continue Reading

Even Creeps Have a Right to Privacy: Appellate Courts Must Decide For Themselves Whether Conversations Admitted into a Criminal Trial Were Private or Not

In State v. Kipp, a unanimous court reversed a defendant’s conviction because the trial court admitted a recording of a conversation that was protected by Washington’s privacy act.  A six Justice majority further ruled that Washington’s privacy act requires appellate courts to review de novo trial court decisions that a conversation was not private.  In a … Continue Reading

Washington Court Starts to Count to Five, Stops at Four

In State v. Liu, a 5-4 majority on the Washington Suprme Court declared the the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not require that DNA tests or other hard to decipher scientific tests be presented in court by the technician who conducted the test.  These tests are not inculpatory because a … Continue Reading
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