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Thread: Citizen Criminal Complaint Procedure

  1. #1
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    From Washington Courts website, Criminal Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction

    http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules...id=cljcrrlj2.1

    (c) Citizen Complaints. Any person wishing to institute a criminal action
    alleging a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor shall appear before a judge
    empowered to commit persons charged with offenses against the State, other than
    a judge pro tem. The judge may require the appearance to be made on the
    record, and under oath. The judge may consider any allegations on the basis of
    an affidavit sworn to before the judge. The court may also grant an opportunity
    at said hearing for evidence to be given by the county prosecuting attorney or
    deputy, the potential defendant or attorney of record, law enforcement or other
    potential witnesses. The court may also require the presence of other
    potential witnesses.
    It continues on at the link.

    This rule may have been struck down as unconstitutional by the State Court of Appeals Div. I, under docket 264122, but I can't find anything online about that case.

    The case was appealed to the State Supreme Court under docket 81295-1 in 2009. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

    The relevant case or docket numbers are:

    Spokane County District Court CC1 and CC2
    Spokane County Superior Court 07-1-01318-1
    Court of Appeals Div. I 264122
    State Supreme Court 81295-1

    The only document relating to this case that I can find on-line is this AMENDED AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF filed in the Supreme Court appeal by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

    I've searched all ways at courts.wa.gov and at legalwa.org. Maybe someone else has mastered the search techniques at these site and can dig up something else?

    My Point:
    It may be constitutional under this court rule for a citizen to file his own criminal complaint, independent of a city attorney or county prosecutor. Or the State Court of Appeals Div. I may have ruled it unconstitutional. Let's see if we can figure it out.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Machoduck's Avatar
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    Dean, I groan at the amount of time you must have put into this. I know that I speak for all of us when I say, "thank you."

    MD

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    Thanks Dean............... Now how canwe use this new tool
    Throw me to the wolves and I will come back leading the pack.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Yes!!!!!! (Even with the disclaimer that is a good find).
    We should get some legal minds to weigh in on this.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

  5. #5
    Regular Member kwiebe's Avatar
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    I guess my post a month ago was overlooked:

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...623774#p623774

    I always wondered why that thread just died.

  6. #6
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Oops , good find Kwiebe I missed that thread.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

  7. #7
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    The big question is, assuming this proceedure is valid, can you actually get a Judge to hear you in order to bring charges. You have to get past the "gatekeeper" first.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    I guess my post a month ago was overlooked:
    Oh.

    Well I will accept none of the credit then.

    So the question is: Is the rule still valid? Without seeing the appellate decision, it's hard to tell.

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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    deanf wrote:
    I guess my post a month ago was overlooked:
    Oh.

    Well I will accept none of the credit then.

    So the question is: Is the rule still valid? Without seeing the appellate decision, it's hard to tell.
    I ran the best Westlaw search I could with the information at hand and could find nothing to indicate that CrRLJ 2.1(c) has been ruled invalid. The rule still appears on the official Washington Courts website. I think that's a good indication that it's still a good rule. It's possible that the Supreme Court case is still pending. Searching the only name I see, Anderlik, only brings up a criminal case from 1994. Do you know anything more about the case? One other thing that looks odd: Spokane County case numbers are cited but Court of Apples Division I is cited. Spokane is in Division III. I will try to check that 07 superior court number tomorrow and see what, if anything, is in our files here in Spokane.

    Updated: I also didn't find anything in the WAPA case digests.
    IAALBIAAFTDPASNIPHCBCALA
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  10. #10
    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    [size=OK. ][/size]I tracked down some of the documents in this case via the Spokane County Superior Court number. Through the wonders of technology, I was able to do this from my desk. I’ll try to explain the situation as I understand it without making it into a law review article (whenever a lawyer says he’s going to be brief run for the hills).

    [size=][/size]

    [size=The case arose from a young bull getting loose in the Spokane Valley. ][/size]The bull was headed toward I-90 when it was located by two Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies. In order to try to stop the bull, the deputies Tasered it, which took it to the ground. They tried to tie it up, to which the bull objected, leading to repeated application of the Taser. Ultimately, the bull died, apparently from the electric shocks.

    [size=][/size]

    [size=A citizen tried to file a complaint against the deputies for animal cruelty (RCW 16.52.207) using CrRLJ 2.1(c). ][/size]The citizen was not the owner of the bull but appears to be simply an animal “rights” activist.

    [size=][/size]

    [size=The District Court judge, who knows a thing or two about large animals, found that there was probable cause that the deputies had “][/size]knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.” (RCW 16.52.207(1). The court ordered that a complaint charging the deputies be prepared and filed. The County Prosecutor’s Office, who had participated in the probable cause hearing, filed a motion to reconsider. After the hearing on this motion, the District Court Judge found that the complaint would not issue as the rule allowing citizen complaints violated the separation of powers and further found that the District Court did not have the authority to appoint a special prosecutor.



    The citizen appealed to the Superior Court. The Superior Court judge dismissed the appeal, finding that the rules for appealing District Court decisions did not allow for an appeal of decisions made under CrRLJ 2.1. The citizen tried to appeal to the Court of Apples, which also essentially ruled that the District Court’s decision was not appealable. I believe the citizen then tried for discretionary review with the Court of Final Error. I cannot tell what the status is at the Supreme Court level. The last thing in the Superior Court file is a letter from November of 2008. If there had been a decision it would be in that file.



    So, there is a District Court decision that there is a constitutional problem with the citizen complaint procedure. That decision has apparently not been reviewed by any higher court and is not binding on anyone other than the parties to the case. The decision does point out a “feature” of the procedure (most would probably call it a bug). That is that the prosecuting authority still has to play along or the citizen’s complaint is not going to go anywhere. Two other points. First, the citizen’s lawyer in this case was named Karp. I guess if you are a lawyer named Karp you are destined to get into animal law. Second, everything I have written above is my own interpretation of the case based on my review of documents from the public record. I do not believe that anything I have written conflicts with the official position of the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office, my employer. I have not personally decided whether I favor the availability of the citizen complaint procedure and I am not enough of a constitutional scholar to address the arguments for or against it.



    News articles, and onecommentary,on the case here:



    [size=http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2006/apr/13/loose-cow-tasered-by-deputies-dies/?print-friendly][/size]

    [size=][/size]

    [size=http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2007/jan/27/county-attacks-taser-ruling/?print-friendly][/size]

    [size=][/size]

    [size=http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2007/mar/03/decision-near-on-prosecutor/?print-friendly][/size]

    [size=][/size]

    [size=http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2007/mar/14/ruling-reversed-in-calf-death/?print-friendly][/size]

    [size=][/size]

    [size=http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2007/mar/20/cow-tasing-means-50000-volts-of-fun/?print-friendly][/size]

    [size=][/size]

    [size=][/size]
    IAALBIAAFTDPASNIPHCBCALA
    Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out. (John Corapi, The Black Sheep Dog)
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    Lammo

    Thanks for spending thetime to figure this out and thanks for all ofyour input to OCDC itsgreat to have your perspective and expertise.
    Throw me to the wolves and I will come back leading the pack.

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    Thanks for the work.

    I found a few more items:

    A summary of issues before the Supreme Court, 2009:
    Appeal—Decisions Reviewable—Right of Appeal—Order Disallowing Citizen Criminal Complaint

    Whether a citizen who attempted to initiate a criminal prosecution by citizen complaint pursuant to CrRLJ 2.1(c) may appeal a district court order disallowing the complaint on the ground that CrRLJ 2.1(c) violates separation of powers principles.

    No. 81295-1, In re Anderlik, Chris Anderlik (petitioner); Ballard Bates; Duane Simmons; State of Washington (respondents). STRICKEN
    I don't know what that STRICKEN means.

    All the briefs filed with the Supreme Court:
    http://www.courts.wa.gov/appellate_t...irstLetter=all
    listed under City of Spokane Valley, et al ex rel Chris Anderlik v. Ballard Bates, et al
    Case Number - 81295-1

    Seems to me that the rule is in full force, but using it would be an uphill battle.

  13. #13
    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    deanf wrote:
    Thanks for the work.

    I found a few more items:

    A summary of issues before the Supreme Court, 2009:
    Appeal—Decisions Reviewable—Right of Appeal—Order Disallowing Citizen Criminal Complaint

    Whether a citizen who attempted to initiate a criminal prosecution by citizen complaint pursuant to CrRLJ 2.1(c) may appeal a district court order disallowing the complaint on the ground that CrRLJ 2.1(c) violates separation of powers principles.

    No. 81295-1, In re Anderlik, Chris Anderlik (petitioner); Ballard Bates; Duane Simmons; State of Washington (respondents). STRICKEN
    I don't know what that STRICKEN means.

    All the briefs filed with the Supreme Court:
    http://www.courts.wa.gov/appellate_t...irstLetter=all
    listed under City of Spokane Valley, et al ex rel Chris Anderlik v. Ballard Bates, et al
    Case Number - 81295-1

    Seems to me that the rule is in full force, but using it would be an uphill battle.
    In this context, and generally when comes to the courts, "stricken" means "removed" as in stricken from the calendar or docket.

    Just for giggles, if you scroll through the list of briefs at the link above, State v. Afana was my case at the trial level. We have 2 deputies who do appeals full time so the briefs at the link aren't my work. I did, however, cite the correct case to the trial court; I just didn't convince her so we had to appeal.
    IAALBIAAFTDPASNIPHCBCALA
    Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out. (John Corapi, The Black Sheep Dog)
    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. (Groucho Marx)

  14. #14
    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Orphan wrote:
    Lammo

    Thanks for spending thetime to figure this out and thanks for all ofyour input to OCDC itsgreat to have your perspective and expertise.
    You are welcome. Since I can't actually help anyone in here with their case I'm glad I can try to make some sense of the law and system. Also, you all get to know that not all prosecutors are against you.

    IAALBIAAFTDPASNIPHCBCALA
    Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out. (John Corapi, The Black Sheep Dog)
    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. (Groucho Marx)

  15. #15
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    It seems that there should be an easy and direct way to check the current status or disposition of a case that is either denied or accepted by the State Supreme Court . . . . .

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