Articles Posted in Washington Supreme Court

by
As a juvenile homicide offender facing a de facto life-without-parole sentence, petitioner Joel Rodriguez Ramos was entitled to a "Miller" hearing, just as a juvenile homicide offender facing a literal life-without-parole sentence would be. Based on the record presented, the Supreme Court found that that Ramos received a constitutionally adequate Miller hearing and he did not show that his aggregated 85-year sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. View "Washington v. Rodriguez Ramos" on Justia Law

by
Juvenile defendant Trey M. challenged his three convictions for felony harassment under RCW 9A.46.020. The Court of Appeals certified the issue to the Washington Supreme Court of whether the United States Supreme Court's decision in "Elonis v. United States," (135 S. Ct. 2001 (2015)) had any impact on the Washington Court's "reasonable person standard" for what constituted a "true threat" under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Washington Supreme Court held that because "Elonis" expressly avoided any First Amendment analysis, it provided no basis for the Court to abandon its established First Amendment precedent. Accordingly, the Court affirmed. View "Washington v. Trey M." on Justia Law

by
K.H.-H., a 17-year-old male, was charged with assault with sexual motivation after he forced himself on C.R., a female acquaintance who attended the same high school. The issue this case presented on appeal involved whether a juvenile disposition condition requiring K.H.-H. to write an apology letter to the victim violated his constitutional free speech rights. After review, the Supreme Court held that it did not. View "Washington v K. H.-H." on Justia Law

by
Petitioner Josh Sanchez was adjudicated a juvenile sex offender. He petitioned against the superior court's release of his offender information to the King County Sheriff's Office when he was released back into the community. Washington law mandated that the local authorities notify the community of the offender's release and potential risk that the offender posed. The Supreme Court held that the juvenile court could release the evaluation of petitioner that resulted in his receiving offender status, and that it was not a violation of his rights to do so. View "Washington v. Sanchez" on Justia Law

by
This case required the Supreme Court to examine how Washington's juvenile justice laws interact with the Persistent Offender Accountability Act (POAA), also known as the "three strikes law." When Jorge Saenz was 15 years old, he agreed to waive juvenile court jurisdiction and transfer his case to adult court, where he pled guilty to two counts of felony assault in exchange for a moderately lower sentencing recommendation. As a result, seven years later he faced life in prison without the possibility of parole under the POAA. The issue for the Supreme Court's review concerned whether his waiver of juvenile court jurisdiction was valid and whether his case was properly transferred to adult court. The Court concluded that Saenz's waiver was invalid because there was virtually nothing in the record demonstrating that it was intelligently made or that Saenz was fully informed when he made it. Next, the Court held that Saenz's case was not properly transferred to adult court because the commissioner transferring the case failed to enter findings that transfer was in the best interest of the juvenile or the public as required by statute. On these facts, the Supreme Court held that Saenz's conviction could not be used as a "strike" to sentence him to spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of release. Instead, the Court affirmed the 561-month sentence imposed by the trial court. View "Washington v. Saenz" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner Daniel Posey,Jr. committed two counts of second degree rape when he was sixteen years old. A jury convicted him, and the superior court sentenced him as an adult. On direct review, the Supreme Court remanded Petitioner's case with instructions that a juvenile court sentence him. Prior to the Court's mandate, Petitioner turned twenty-one. On remand, Petitioner challenged the juvenile court's authority to sentence him. The presiding judge agreed. The superior court resentenced Petitioner as an adult, but imposed a sentence consistent with the standard juvenile range. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the issue of this case was whether legislation relating to juvenile courts could deprive the superior courts of their constitutional jurisdiction. The Court held that the legislature did not have the power to alter that constitutional grant of felony jurisdiction. The Court thus affirmed the sentence imposed on remand by the superior court, and affirmed the Court of Appeals' decision upholding Petitioner's original sentence. View "Washington v. Posey" on Justia Law

by
In this case the issue presented for the Supreme Court's review was whether a thirteen-year old was denied due process rights when she was not appointed counsel at a truancy hearing. Despite a district court's order to attend school, E.S. missed classes from 2005 to 2007. At first, E.S. and her mother attended the hearings, but were not represented by counsel, nor did they ask that counsel be present. The court explained that E.S. would be "sentenced" to house arrest, work crew and detention if she did not comply with the order, but she continued to miss school. At E.S.' last court appearance, she was represented by counsel. She was ordered to spend six days in detention with electronic monitoring. E.S., through her attorney, filed a motion to have the home detention set aside, which was denied. The Court of Appeals vacated E.S.' sentence, finding that the child's "interests in her liberty, privacy and right to education [were] in jeopardy" at the truancy hearings, and that due process required counsel at each appearance. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the School District argued that Washington courts never required the appointment of counsel to protect a child's privacy and education interests. The Supreme Court agreed with the District. Upon review of the record, the state constitution and the applicable legal authority, the Court found that E.S. was not denied due process rights because she was not appointed counsel in the initial truancy hearings. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals' decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Bellevue Sch. Dist. v. E.S." on Justia Law

by
K.N.J. was born in 2005 to Marquesha Everett and Petitioner Michael Jenkins. K.N.J. suffered extreme abuse at the hands of her mother. After discovery of the abuse, K.N.J. was removed from her mother's care and placed in foster care. Petitioner was served with a summons and petition for a dependency hearing. A judge pro tempore presided over the initial hearing. The mother consented to the judge's hearing the case. Petitioner did not appear and was not represented by counsel. The judge pro tempore entered a default order of dependency despite her status and Petitioner's lack of consent. Subsequent hearings were held, and an elected judge presided over them. Petitioner did not appear until the permanency planning hearing. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case, asserting that the original dependency order was void because Petitioner did not consent to a judge pro tempore. The trial court denied Petitioner's motion to dismiss and terminated his parental rights. Petitioner appealed the termination to the Supreme Court. The Court found that K.N.J.'s dependency was amply proved at the termination trial where Petitioner was present and represented by counsel. Furthermore the trial court's findings supported the termination of Petitioner's parental rights. The Court affirmed the decisions of the lower court.