WA Legal Roundup
Four new opinions out of Div. II today.
The recent Recuenco decision, which held that the state can't charge and the jury find deadly weapons enhancements then sentence firearms enhancements, applies here.
Another Recuenco case.
The alliance wanted to declare Washington's 12.7 percent cap on special education funding unconstitutional. The trial court agreed that it was, but because the alliance had improperly excluded the basic education allocation from its calculations, that it had not proven the statutes unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.
As most are aware, the state constitution has a mandate to "make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex." The legislature declared special education part of this constitutional obligation.
The standard for proving beyond a reasonable doubt that it is not adequately funded is proving that you have to rely on levy dollars to supplement what the state is supplying. However, basic education dollars cover all students, including those with limited learning ability, on top of which the state funded special education dollars are placed. Thus, by excluding the basic education dollars, the alliance really had not proven anything other than if those in need had to rely on JUST special education dollars, that those alone would be inadequate.
That is the crux of the overall opinion, however, it provides an excellent overview of the state's special education funding process, for those whose practices entail these suits.
Ramos was convicted of failing to register, a no no for sex offenders. When he was released, it was prior to sex offender classifications. Ramos, who learned of the change in the law, took it upon himself to register, whereupon the Sheriff's office classified him as Level II. The power to designate was given by statute to the Sheriff's office. However, they didn't provide any direction to the Sheriff's office on HOW to classify, which is a violation of the delegation doctrine:
Here, the sex offender classification statute does not provide any comparable guidance to a local law enforcement agency. At most, RCW 4.24.550(6) instructs a local law enforcement agency to consider offender classifications made by other agencies; however, these prior classifications are not binding on the law enforcement agency. RCW 4.24.550(10). As noted, RCW 4.24.550 itself provides neither standards nor definitions to guide law enforcement agencies in determining an offender's classification. Moreover, even if we were to assume the nonbinding determinations of other agencies provided sufficient guidance to the law enforcement agency, in Ramos's case, there were no such prior assessments for the Thurston County Sheriff's Office to review. By failing to provide criteria or standards, the legislature has delegated full responsibility for defining offenders' risk levels, an element of a felony, to local law enforcement agencies.
This, I'm thinking, will turn the registration system on its head for a bit.