The Supreme Court has accepted several new cases for review.
State v. Arreola, No. 86610-4. Gilberto Arreola was convicted of a felony driving under the influence in the first degree. The patrol officer that arrested Arreola followed him for over a half mile because his vehicle fit the description of a car reportedly driven by a suspected drunk driver. The officer noticed that Arreola’s car had a modified muffler. The muffler was in violation of state vehicle requirements. The officer pulled over Arreola with the primary motive of investigating whether or not he was driving under the influence. The officer testified that the muffler was an additional reason for the stop and it would have caused him to stop the defendant despite his suspicion of drunk driving.
Pretextual traffic stops are unconstitutional under Article I, § 7 of the Washington State Constitution. The Court of Appeals (Div. III) held that this traffic stop was unconstitutional because the stop for the muffler was pretext for the suspicion that the defendant was driving under the influence.
State v. Ollivier, No. 86633-3. Brandon Ollivier was convicted of possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit activity. Ollivier is a registered sex offender and his two roommates were sex offenders. One of his roommates told police that the defendant had showed him a video of a young girl having sexual relations with a young boy. He also said that the defendant showed him photographs of young girls provocatively posed. Ollivier was convicted of one count of possession of depictions of minors engage in sexually explicit conduct and sentenced to 30 months.
Ollivier appealed. He contended that he was denied his right to a speedy trial, the informant’s information was unreliable, and that the search warrant was overbroad, not supported by probable cause, and was improperly served.
The Court of Appeals (Div. I) affirmed the conviction. The Court held that the delay of 22 months between arrest and trial due to the defense counsel’s continuances did not violate the right to speedy trial. The court also held that the search warrant affidavit based on tip from the defendant’s roommate was adequate to establish probable cause and the search warrant described with sufficient particularity items to be seized and searched. The police officers’ failure to show defendant written copy of search warrant until after execution of search did not invalidate the search warrant or search.
WA Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance v. State, No 86602-3. Four off-road vehicle users and two organizations sued the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission, challenging the constitutionality of a legislative appropriation of motor vehicle fuel excise tax revenues for a park maintenance fund.
The Court of Appeals (Div. II) held that the appropriation of excess funds in non-highway and off-road vehicle activities program account for funding park maintenance “was a ‘refund’ authorized by law, within meaning of state constitutional provision stating that refunds authorized by law for taxes paid on motor vehicle fuels are highway purposes for which such taxes may be expended.” The court held that the legislative appropriation should benefit non-highway users who paid motor vehicle fuel excise taxes.
Lowman v. Wilbur, No. 86584-1. Nathan Lowman met Jennifer Wilbur at the Country Corner Bar and Grill. Wilbur was intoxicated and invited Lowman to go home with her. She drove her vehicle with Lowman in the passenger seat, under the influence of alcohol. On the way home, she wrecked her car in to a utility pole. (Wilbur later pleaded guilty to vehicular assault.) Lowman sued Wilbur, Country Corner, Puget Sound Energy and Skagit County. Lowman’s complaint alleged that Puget Sound Energy and Skagit County negligently placed the utility pole in a location that could cause injury to travelers. His complaint stated that the pole was located four feet from the edge of the road past a sharp curve.
The Snohomish County Superior Court dismissing the negligence claims against Puget Sound Energy and Skagit County, holding that their actions were not the legal cause of the injury. The Court of Appeals (Div. I) affirmed the decision.