Tag Archives: Washington State Supreme Court

In Victory for Families of People Killed by Police, Court Allows Inquest Reforms

by Paul Kiefer

(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)


The Washington State Supreme Court sided with the families of people killed by police officers in a unanimous decision Thursday, restoring reforms to King County’s inquest process that have stalled since 2018 under pressure from law enforcement agencies.

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New State Drug Laws May End Some Deportation Proceedings, But Risks Remain

by Paul Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


When the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in February that the State’s harsh drug possession laws were unconstitutional, most lawmakers, prosecutors and defense attorneys hurried to prepare for the ruling’s vast consequences for the state’s court system and the tens of thousands of people whose convictions for drug possession are now baseless.

Among those impacted by the ruling, State of Washington v. Blake, are immigrants convicted for simple drug possession under Washington’s pre-Blake drug laws. Some are currently facing deportation because of a drug possession conviction; others have already been deported.

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Weekend Long Reads: Life Without Parole

by Kevin Schofield


This week’s long read is hot off the presses: a Washington State Supreme Court ruling from this past Thursday. By a 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that a state law requiring a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole for any adult convicted of aggravated first degree murder is unconstitutional when applied to individuals aged 19 or 20, because it violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Underlying this case, and several that preceded it, are two ongoing societal debates: What makes a punishment “cruel,” and at what point does someone cross over from juvenile to adult?

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With Washington’s Drug Possession Law Gone, Lawmakers at Odds Over Next Steps

by Ben Adlin


On Wednesday of last week, it was a felony in Washington to possess illegal drugs — even if you didn’t know you had them. A day later, it wasn’t. After a sweeping Washington Supreme Court ruling declared the state’s felony drug possession law unconstitutional, there’s currently no penalty on the books in Washington State for drug possession.

Continue reading With Washington’s Drug Possession Law Gone, Lawmakers at Odds Over Next Steps

The Morning Update Show — 3/4/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Thursday, March 4

LIVE — Nate Jackson | LIVE — Sean Goode | LIVE — Julia Jessie | Washington Passes 5,000 COVID Deaths | State Supreme Court Ruling on “Simple Possession” | Simply Soulful Moving to South Jackson Street | Clap Back Culture

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 3/4/21

The Morning Update Show — 2/26/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Friday, Feb. 26

#FeelGoodFriday | LIVE — Pamela Yasutake | LIVE — DJ Topspin | LIVE — Besa Gordon | State Supreme Court Rules on Drug Possession | LEMS Bookstore Open and Thriving | You Know the Dilla

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 2/26/21

I Became a Judge Because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

by Bobbe Bridge (former Washington Supreme Court Justice)


As I write, millions — maybe billions — of words have been dedicated in print and orally to the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the law professor; the lawyer for the ACLU winning landmark rulings at the United States Supreme Court; the federal District Court Judge; the Supreme Court Justice; the Notorious RBG. She became an iconic figure in her later years, an idol in a black robe and lace collars — collars that were carefully selected (like her own words) to signal her meaning.

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First Black Woman Makes Washington’s Supreme Court Most Diverse Ever

by Charlene Angeles


“How dark is the color of its skin,
As that will define its struggles within
Is it a boy or is it a girl is asked, as if to define its life’s task
Will it stay or will it go, the answer its parents needs to know
From the day that it was born, its very essence society scorned
From birth society coded its future to do
It hacked the code and redirected its future to zoom
Silent it could never be, because it ladies and gentlemen, is me.”

—Justice Grace Helen Whitener, “Claiming Your Identity by Understanding Your Self-Worth.” TEDxPortofSpain.

In mid-April, with a global pandemic raging, the state of Washington quietly made history. Without much fanfare, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Grace Helen Whitener to the state supreme court — and by doing so, made Washington’s highest court likely the most diverse the United States has ever seen. 

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