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Judicial Reform States Washington

Washington Supreme Court

Pro Government
Total Judgeships: 

9 (0 vacancies)

Political Makeup: 

Non-Partisan

Location(s): 
Olympia
Caseload: 

1500

Recent Cases

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LISTEN NOWThe Freedom Files Podcast Episode 54: David BahnsenListen Here
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Stretching Liability Past the Acting Parties

Thu, 07/17/2014

Washington v. Bauer: Bauer is dating the mother of TC and was storing a firearm at her house. TC took Bauer’s gun and brought it to school with him leading to the serious injury of a classmate when the gun discharged while TC was rummaging through his backpack. The State criminally charged Bauer with 3rd degree assault on the basis of his negligence in having the gun in a position where TC could gain access to it. Bauer appealed on the grounds that his actions were not the primary cause of the injuries.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Washington reversed the decision of the lower courts, ruling in favor of Bauer. The result of this case is the definition and differences between criminal versus legal causation. The court determined that the point at which the State is attempting to stretch liability in this case is unprecedented.

Read the full decision here
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Court Gives Fair Ruling in Religious Rights Lawsuit

Thu, 05/22/2014

Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc.: Kumar and a number of other Gate Gourmet employees filed a class action lawsuit against their workplace for forcing them to eat food for lunch that is against their religious beliefs. Gate’s policy restricts employees from bringing their own lunch, leaving them only 2 options for lunch from the onsite cafeteria. Kumar states that the lack of options causes emotional distress and “offensive touching” since they come into contact with food that is against their beliefs.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Washington reversed the decision of the lower court by remanding the case for further review. The Court ruled that Gate Gourmet should not have summary judgment because they are not accommodating their employees but also that the tort claims should go without analysis and be dismissed.

Read the full decision here
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Proving Innocence Through Guilt of Another

Thu, 05/08/2014

Washington v. Franklin: During Franklin’s trial on charges of cyberstalking, Franklin attempted to prove his innocence through presenting evidence that another individual had been the one to commit the crime. The Trial Court dismissed this evidence presented by the defendant and then convicted Franklin. At issue with this case is whether evidence presented by a defendant that could lead to the conviction of a third party can be used evidence used in court to prove innocence.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Washington reversed the decision of the Trial Court and ruled that the Trial Court, by excluding the evidence that the defendant presented concerning the guilt of a third party, acted against precedent and in violation of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court of Washington stated that if there is an adequate nexus between the innocence of the charged and the potential alleged guilt of a third party, that evidence should be allowed to be presented in court.

Read the full decision here