Category Archives: Constitutional

Laws Aren’t Always Enforceable

Even though a law may be on the books, it may not always be good law.

Let me give you an example.  On my constitutional law blog I wrote about a Washington State law which bans flag desecration.  See RCW 9.86.030.  The law basically criminalizes any act which will put any flag into disrepute.  And yes it does criminalize flag desecration, the penalty is a gross misdemeanor and the statute is located in Title 9 – Crimes and Punishment of the Revised Code of Washington.

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Newspaper Has Troubles With Legislative Records

Common sense says the emails of the Washington State Legislature should be public records, and consequently available to the public.  Especially with how broad and expansive Washington’s general public records statute is (and applies to the other state and local government agencies).

Over the weekend, the Tacoma News Tribune ran a wire story about the restrictiveness of legislative records.  The Associated Press (who wrote the article) investigated public records in the Washington State and were denied email records of legislators.

I wrote about this issue in Jan. 2016 on my constitutional law blog,  In that article I argued that Washington’s separate more restrictive public records law just for the Washington State Legislature is unconstitutional.

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Freedom of Speech for Licensed Professionals

The professional speech doctrine of free speech seems to be emerging in front of courts.   Professional speech is defined when the government’s right of licensing and regulation through police powers outweighs an individual’s right to free speech.

I recently wrote about this topic on my Intermediate Scrutiny blog.  If you are a licensed professional, or interested in the most recent developments in the freedom of speech theory then this article might interest you.

Professional Speech Doctrine


Eighth Amendment Retroactivity Applied to Juveniles

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana  that constitutional protection, which prohibits the sentencing of life in prison without possibility parole for juvenile offenders, is to be retroactively applied in all cases.   That means individuals who were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole as a juvenile, will now be able to challenge their sentence and file for post-conviction relief in Washington State.

How This Came About

Two years ago the U.S. Supreme Court announced the Eighth Amendment protects against sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison without the possibility for parole, in Miller v. Alabama.  In part, the Court reasoned that an offender’s age is relevant in the Eighth Amendment analysis.  When sentencing a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole, the sentencing is so rigid there is not an opportunity to take age into account.  Going forward, juveniles could not be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

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