Facts: Respondent Dean Moore’s driver’s license was automatically suspended pursuant to §46.20.289 and §46.20.324 after he failed to appear, pay, or comply with a citation for speeding. Moore was subsequently cited for driving with a suspended driver’s license, leading him to file a motion to dismiss the citation in district court. Following a hearing, the district court held that the suspension mandated by §46.20.289 and §46.20.324 violated his due process rights and had been invalid as Moore had not been provided with the opportunity for an administrative hearing either before or after the suspension. The city of Redmond appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Do the automatic suspension provisions of §46.20.289 and §46.20.324 deny those subject to them due process of law?
Conclusion: Justice Sanders’ opinion for the Court held that the automatic suspension provisions violated drivers’ due process rights as they provided insufficient protection to ensure that clerical errors do not result in erroneous suspensions of the licenses of drivers who have committed no violation. The Court ruled that although safeguards to prevent such erroneous suspensions need not be so comprehensive as to exclude all possibility of error, the provisions at issue were unconstitutional as they foreclosed the possibility of any formal hearing.
Docket No. 72614-1 (from King Case No. CR 20447)
Petitioner: City of Redmond
(Counsel: Richard L. Mitchell)
Respondent: Dean Moore
(Counsel: Cherilyn G. Church and Donna K. Tucker)
Argument: Thursday, February 13, 2003 10:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, June 3rd, 2004
Prevailing Party: Dean Moore (Respondent)
Opinion: 151 Wn.2d 664 (2004)
Court: Alexander2 Court (2003-2004)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form.