Wednesday, February 27, 2013

State v. Wanrow case brief

State v. Wanrow case brief summary
88 Wn.2d 221

SYNOPSIS: Appellant state challenged a decision of the Court of Appeals (Washington), which reversed respondent's murder and assault convictions due to allegedly improper admission of a recording of an emergency phone call to the police department.

-The victim, Wesler, had been suspected of molesting the children of Ms. Hooper, a friend of the Defendant, among others in the neighborhood.
-Ms. Hooper attempted to receive police assistance, however they refused to arrest Wesler until Monday morning (when Ms. Hooper was instructed to go to the police station to get a warrant).
-Ms. Hooper therefore asked the Defendant and some other adults to spend the weekend at her home for added protection.
-At around 5:00 a.m. on the date in question, one of the adults, Chuck Michel, went to Wesler’s house to bring him to Ms. Hooper’s residence to straighten things out.
-Wesler entered the house while Michel and another man, David Kelly, remained outside.
-Wesler, who was visibly intoxicated, refused to leave when asked to do so. A good deal of shouting and confusion soon arose.
-Eventually, the Defendant went to the front door to enlist the aid of Chuck Michel and when she turned to reenter the living room, Wesler was standing directly behind her.
-Since he was startled by this situation, the Defendant shot Wesler in what amounted to a reflex action.

-Respondent was convicted of murder.
-The court of appeals reversed, holding that a tape recording of an emergency phone call to the police had been erroneously admitted.
-The supreme court affirmed.

The supreme court held that Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9.73.030(1) and § 9.73.050, prohibiting the secret recording of private communications and the use of those recordings in judicial proceedings, clearly applied to incoming calls to a police station.

-The court also concluded that Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.090(1) permitted the recording of emergency calls by police departments only for the purpose of verifying emergency information.
-In addition, the trial court's self-defense instruction was prejudicial to respondent.
-First, the instruction improperly precluded consideration of circumstances known to respondent substantially before the killing.
-Second, the instruction was gender-biased and violated respondent's equal protection rights, since it suggested consideration of a male altercation, not consideration of the female appellee's perceptions when she faced a large intoxicated male.

OUTCOME: Reversal of convictions affirmed, since statutes prohibiting use of recorded private communications in judicial proceedings clearly applied to emergency phone call to police. Also, trial court's self-defense instruction was prejudicial, as it was gender-biased and violated female respondent's equal protection rights.

Interested in learning how to get the top grades in your law school classes? Want to learn how to study smarter than your competition? Interested in transferring to a high ranked school?

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...