WA Legal Roundup - Washington Supreme Court
City of Bellevue v. Lee The DOL used to be able to suspend your license almost summarily, without any opportunity for you to submit evidence. I say you, because this definitely has not happened to me. I You definitely did not have my your license suspended for failing to pay 84 parking tickets. In my your defense, no one disabled was actually using the stall. I mean, sure, there were times when I you had to get into a knock-down dragout with someone my your grandmother's age. But really? Lady, you're not fooling anyone with that walker and "prosthetic" leg. Yes, this is about you, Agnes!
Anyhow, the supreme court invalidated that procedure because of a little thing called due process in Redmond v. Moore, 151 Wn.2d 664, 91 P.3d 875 (2004). The question is whether the new process meets due process. (Spoiler alert: it does).
The new process gives 45 days notice. If a hearing is requested, the suspension is stayed during the review process. All documents submitted to DOL are reviewed, but the DOL will only grant telephonic or in person argument at its discretion. The sole issues before the review board is whether the person is the correct one and whether the action taken by the person reporting the need for suspension to the DOL is the correct action.
For those of you who are a bit out of practice with your Con Law, this is subject to the Matthews test:
The three factors of the Mathews test are (1) the potentially affected interest; (2) the risk of an erroneous deprivation of that interest through the challenged procedures, and probable value of additional procedural safeguards; and (3) the government's interest, including the potential burden of additional procedures. Mathews, 424 U.S. at 335. Due process does not require an error-free process, so the mere possibility of error is insufficient to invalidate the process. Mackey v. Montrym, 443 U.S. 1, 13, 99 S. Ct. 2612, 61 L. Ed. 2d 321 (1979).
The United States Supreme Court has held that driver's licenses are a substantial interest, due to the ability to earn a living usually being contingent on the ability to get there in less than three days on foot. The new hearings process takes care of the risk of erroneous deprivations, because evidence can be submitted by the driver. Lee argues this required an ability to cross examine, but not every case has that need. Given the low risk of deprivation under the new procedure, new processes for the state would require too much of a burden.
Sorry Lee. You need to pay your parking ticket AND wait a bit to get your license back.