Archive for the ‘Noteworthy Articles’ Category

WA Legal Roundup: WA Supreme Court: Mom loses 4 years olds left at home for work; ANOTHER Blakely case; Can’t Adversely Possess City’s Alley

March 1, 2012

So its actually quite an interesting day.

The first case wasn’t all that surprising. The challenge to the dependency action was based on not providing services blah blah blah. The usual rigamarole in dependency actions. So naturally, in Dependency of M.S.R. the Court found no issue with the services (not always the case) and no issue with failure of providing counsel, since none was requested. Let’s just say its not a good idea to take off for work and leave your twin four year olds to their own devices. In this case, they ended up causing a fire.


Next case is a Blakely case. Every public defender should know this and the Recuenco series of decisions. Anyhow, the long and the short of it is Recuenco III isn’t retroactive and the Court may look at verdict forms to determine if the sentence is valid on its face. Can you imagine the train hurtling down the tracks if firearms enhancements from time immemorial were invalidated? Further, the court should be able to quickly look and see if the sentence is valid on its face, which would give it the ability to revise and clear the burden of the COA. The true gem of this opinion comes from Chambers’ clerk’s inserted footnote. Those who know Chambers’ clerks know from whence this note sprang:

On June 24, 2004, five black-clad figures seized control of the Criminal Justice Express, crashed through warning barriers, flattened the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines, opened the throttle, and sent the train hurtling from the main line down the old rail spur where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the sentencing systems of numerous states lay tied helplessly to the tracks. Whereupon, the 2003 Term of Court being concluded, the justices twirled their collective mustachios, sent their robes off to the cleaners, and went on vacation. Two months on, as this Essay goes to press, the rest of us stand staring slack-jawed, some delighted and some aghast, at the disarray and paralysis in the locomotive’s wake and the impending carnage at the end of the line.

I refer, of course, to Blakely v. Washington.

Now, to preserve the (semi) anonymity of the Clerks, I won’t give the name. But I will tell you that this quote originated in a law review article: Frank O. Bowman, III, Essay, Train Wreck  Or Can the Federal Sentencing System Be Saved  A Plea for Rapid Reversal of Blakely v. Washington, 41 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 217, 218 (2004). Oh yeah, the opinion is PRP of Scott.


Its important to note that, while there have been a LOT of post-Blakely cases. I don’t think the sky has fallen down. The courts seem to have dealt with it rather effectively. Probably a little less turmoil than the whole felon-murder thing and the seminal case I can’t remember right now.

Finally, you can’t really take a city’s alleyway. Its there for public use, so you’re not really adverse possessing until the state actually says that part of it isn’t yours. This only applies to statutory dedications as opposed to common law dedications, which CAN be adversely possessed (comes down to the difference between a grant of fee simple in a statutory dedication of land, and an easement in common law). Sadly, I do not have anything funny to say about an Alley. So instead, I’ll post something involving Kirstie Alley. Oh yeah, so you want to know the case on this one too? You needy bastards! Fine! Kiely v. Graves.


An Interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

July 8, 2009

Its not often that I won’t just post a link to a website for an article I find interesting. This interview with Justice Ginsburg in The New York Times tore me away from my Prehearing Statement of Proof and held me captivated for its entirety. Read it after the jump.



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