I worked on preparing a couple briefs this weekend. One of them dealt with article I, section 12 of the Washington Constitution. This Constitution provisions states: “No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.” Article I, section 12 of Washington’s constitution is different than the “special privileges and immunities” clause of the United States Constitution (and most State constitutions) because one of its purposes is protect Washington citizens from our state government providing special privileges and immunities to corporations. Its purpose, as a part of Washington’s Declaration of Rights, was to prevent all three branches of government from corruptly affording corporations and private persons special privileges and immunities which infringed on those citizens rights grounded in Washington’s Constitution. So as I was saying when I write my briefs I have to do research to document the assertions I make to the courts. At least that is what I was taught to do back in the early nineteen seventies. Oftentimes, however, I am not sure the courts consider these citations much as the superior courts now routinely refuse to provide any reasoning for their judgments and our courts of appeal decide over fifty per cent of their by way of non-precedential rulings. But getting back to the point, I was doing what I was taught to do, i.e. researching Article 1, section 12, when I came … Continue Reading
His friends called him Jimmie. As he sat down, gun in hand, his feelings were chaos. Anger, emptiness, sadness, shame. He raised his head; glanced at the sky then back to the crumpled foreclosure notice dropped beside him. Then he looked at the gun he held aimed at his face. For a moment he strained to look inside its barrel. A tear rolled slowly down his face. Jimmie knew he was about to break down in tears. He didn’t want that. He needed courage. So he quickly pulled the trigger and the bullet tore through his face ending his life because of he felt the shame of an illegal foreclosure. Even before his wife and three children held the memorial service, the servicer initiating the foreclosure cancelled the sale. Not out of any sympathy for the wife and children but to stop the family from filing any claim against the lending industry claiming the obviously illegal foreclosure proceedings were a proximate cause of Jimmie’s suicide. In almost every other area, people and business entities are liable for the damages their negligent or intentional conduct foreseeable causes others. In the past the Courts have provided an exception for the government; now they have extended the same immunity to the wealthy. It is a sad day for Washington. Doesn’t it make sense that our courts would want to ensure those claiming to own peoples’ homes as security perform nonjudicial foreclosures consistent with Washington law each time that industry attempts to take a … Continue Reading
For most of our history lawyers have thought of themselves as the unofficial fourth “arm” of the government. Hurst, pp. 598-601. This view is more understandable from lawyers’ past role as “trial advocates”; than from the present relationship between the bench and bar, which reduces the significance lawyers have with regard to the administration of justice. Under the law in effect in most colonies at the time our Constitution was written, lawyers were advocates who had the right to argue the merits of their client’s cases directly to a jury. Juries, not judges, had the right to decide most cases as they saw fit both with regard to the facts and law. “In 1789, juries occupied the principal place in the administration of justice. They were frequently in both criminal and civil cases the arbiters not only of fact but of law.” Galloway, at 399. The King’s denial of the right to a trial by jury was one of the reasons stated by the colonists in the Declaration of Independence justifying separation from England.