WA Legal Roundup - WA Supreme Court: MPR 1.3 Unconstitutional; Discovery Depositions Not Subject to Open Courts
Justice Sanders, sitting pro tem, authored the lead opinion in In Re Det. of D.F.F.. Essentially, the court closed off a mental proceeding, pursuant to MPR 1.3, which provides that the proceedings are closed unless opened, rather than the other way around. This is a court proceeding and subject to our open courts requirement. There really is no new law outside of that, as the concurrence was only in result and in the fact that it was a violation. In case you were wondering, the rule allowed mental proceedings to be closed unless the subject wanted them open.
In a 7-2 opinion, in Tacoma News, Inc. v. Cayce, the court ruled that a deposition is not a court proceeding subject to the open courts provision. Even if the deposition is in a courtroom and the judge is ruling on objections during the deposition, this does not convert it into a court proceeding, as the evidence in a deposition may or may not be used or even admissible for purposes of an actual proceeding. Thus, the paper had no right to be present at the deposition. Right call, I think. Lest, or course, we want everybody and their mother at a deposition.