WA Legal Roundup
Three new opinions out of Div. II today. Unfortunately, I have no time today for smarmy comebacks, so I will instead point you here.
It must be the week for SVP challenges. Sease claimed that the jury was not instructed on unanimity, and did not unanimopusly find which condition warranted the committment. He also contends the state did not meet its burden and that there was prosecutorial misconduct.
While Sease did not offer, nor object to the lack of, a unanimity instruction, its constitutional error, thus, if manifest, may be held as error. The court looked to the alternative means test to hold that there was no error in unanimity as to alternative diagnoses:
Where there is more than one statutory alternative means of committing an offense, the Arndt alternative means test generally requires that the jury unanimously agree on one of the alternative means. But the Arndt test does not require reversal if the evidence of each alternative is sufficient to allow the trier of fact to have found each means beyond a reasonable doubt. Halgren, 156 Wn.2d at 811.
Halgren makes it clear that the actual diagnosed mental abnormalities or personality diorders [SIC] are not the alternative means which the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt; it is whether the person suffers from a mental abnormality or a personality disorder.
As a time save, I will just tell you, the prosecutorial misconduct and sufficiency of the evidence (burden) arguments failed. I know it may come as a shock, because those arguments usually are winners.
I'm actually thinking of optioning this story. I haven't read the case yet, but with a name like that, you can't go wrong. I think Sergeant Slaughter should be the male lead opposite Natalie Portman (who didn't love V for Vendetta?).
So what is this? ITS A BAR QUESTION!
In a 1934 deed, William and Augusta Kilworth conveyed land to the Boy Scouts of America. The deed provided that the land would revert to the Kilworths or their heirs if the Boy Scouts sold the property or stopped using it as a scouting camp. The Boy Scouts sought to have the reversionary clause removed from the deed through the court's equity jurisdiction, enabling them to sell Camp Kilworth for funds to further benefit the Boy Scouts. The trial court, determining that this was a matter of trust administration, used its equitable powers to grant the Boy Scouts' request. Holding that the grantors's reversionary clause prohibits reformation of the deed, we reverse.
Can I just point out the possible implications had this gone through. You would basically do away with a large group of conditional conveyances (conditions subsequent), instead treating them as trusts. Whoa, right?
Nevertheless, the court put the smackdown on the court below, preserving the requirement of an actual intention to create a trust being needed to create a trust.
This is a land use decision. I am adhering to my long-standing policy of calling Land Use attorneys nerd and refusing to blog about their cases so they have to go read the case themselves.