Synopsis: Whether sealing juror questionnaires following jury selection without conducting the analysis required by State v. Bone-Club, 128 Wn.2d 254, 906 P.2d 325 (1995), constitutes structural error requiring reversal of a criminal conviction.
Docket No. 84475-5 (from Court of Appeals Division II Case No. 39700-5) Synopsis: Whether the prosecutor in a criminal trial committed prejudicial misconduct during closing argument when he utilized a PowerPoint presentation that displayed booking photographs of the defendant with the word “guilty” superimposed across his face and other captions questioning the defendant’s credibility. Continue reading
Docket No. 84606-5 (from Court of Appeals Division II Case No. 37048-4) Facts: Respondent Ernest Carter was convicted of robbery in the Superior Court for Pierce County. As Carter had previously been convicted of assault in California and of attempted murder in Oregon, he was sentenced to life imprisonment as a persistent offender. After unsuccessfully directly appealing his sentence, Carter filed an untimely personal restraint petition that asserted that his sentence is unlawful in light of the fact that his California assault conviction is not comparable to a Washington “strike” offense. The Washington Court of Appeals vacated Carter’s sentence and remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing, holding that Carter’s personal restraint petition is not time barred insofar as the “actual innocence” doctrine permits him to challenge the comparability of his prior convictions. Continue reading
Docket No. 84319-8 (from Court of Appeals Division II Case No. 38549-0) Facts: Petitioner Dean Lormor was convicted of unlawful possession of a controlled substance in the Superior Court for Thurston County after a trial in which his daughter, who is confined to a wheelchair and requires a ventilator to breathe, was excluded from the courtroom on grounds that her presence would be potentially distracting to the jury. Lormor subsequently appealed his conviction, asserting that the exclusion of his daughter from the courtroom during his trial constituted a closure that violated both the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution’s guarantee of a public trial and Article I §10 of the Washington State Constitution’s guarantee of the open administration of justice. Continue reading
Docket No. 82802-4 (from Court of Appeals Division II Case No. 36625-8) Synopsis: Whether the trial court in a criminal prosecution violated the constitutional right to a public trial when it conducted a portion of jury voir dire in chambers without conducting a preclosure analysis under State v. Bone-Club, 128 Wn.2d 254, 906 P.2d 325 (1995), and without considering alternatives to in-chambers questioning. Continue reading
Docket No. 83645-1 Facts: Judge James Cayce of the Superior Court for King County presided over the taking of a deposition from a witness in a criminal trial in an empty courtroom. In response to a motion by defense counsel, Cayce agreed to close the courtroom to non-parties. Tacoma News, Inc., whose representatives had attempted to enter the courtroom during the deposition but were refused entry, subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court of Washington for a writ of mandamus compelling Cayce to open the deposition to the public, asserting that closing the taking of the deposition had violated both Article I §10 of the Washington State Constitution’s guarantee of the open administration of justice and the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution’s implicit guarantee of public access to criminal trials. Continue reading