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to provide any reasoning for their judgments and our courts of appeal decide over fifty per cent of their by way of non-precedential rulings.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 upon the case of Ockletree v. Franciscan Health Sys., which was decided in February of this year.

The case describes the historical context in which Article I, section 12 was enacted:

“Article I, section 12 of the Washington constitution was adopted against a backdrop of legislative misconduct that is almost unimaginable today. The framers lived in a time when the “‘wholesale corruption of state legislatures [was] laughed at by honest men throughout America.’” James Leonard Fitts, The Washington Constitutional Convention of 1889, at 28-29 (1951) (unpublished MA thesis, University of Washington)(on file with Washington State Law Library) (alteration in original) (quoting Tacoma Daily Ledger (July 19, 1889)). The territorial legislature was no exception, and “spent much of its time granting special acts or privileges.” 1 Wilfred J. Airey, A History of the Constitution and Government of Washington Territory 208 (1945) (unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Washington) (on file with Washington State Law Library).”  Ockletree, 179 Wn.2d 775.

I was astounded by the language “misconduct that is almost unimaginable today.”  I raised my head.  Stared out the window and thought “these justices are so out of touch they apparently obviously do not realize “the wholesale corruption [of our our nation and state governments is] laughed at by honest men [and women] throughout America [today].”

These judges obviously do not see the analogy between what is occurring today and that which occurred in Nazi Germany where courts routinely approved governmental evictions of persons from their homes, notwithstanding German law.  Indeed, German judges, much like our judges today, acted in a time when the law still provided citizens the same protections on paper, but the constitutional rights of the people were ultimately eroded to nothing.

I read the above quote from Ockletree several times.  And I became angrier, then saddened, each time I read it.  I know first hand about the special privileges and immunities the Washington judges afford the the Lending and Servicing industry today, notwithstanding the protections article 1, section 12 requires be afforded my clients.

It is my experience that some Washington courts have made bank servicers immune from having to produce discovery relating to their mass produced robo-signed documents and illegal conduct. Many Washington courts daily provide special privileges to this corrupt special interest industry by refusing to allow borrowers to take utilize those normal evidentiary protocols which are afforded to every other litigant which enters the original equitable or legal jurisdiction of the superior courts.

The Courts eagerly, and without question, enforce the Deed of Trust Act against borrowers.  Courts do so with the full understanding that this statute was enacted solely to allow special interests the right to subvert Washington property owners that due process which is afforded virtually all other litigants when they a case within the superior court’s jurisdiction.  The legilature wrote this law, the Governor signed it, and the courts enforce it solely in order to immunize lenders and servicers from the costs which are inherent in our system of justice for everyone else.

It is difficult to understand why our courts don’t get it; when so many citizens do.  The governmental corruption the framers were concerned about has not lessened.  Many of our homeless (which was not as much of a problem in 1889) would legitimately argue the corruption has gotten worse as the courts continue to ignore Washington’s privileges and immunities clause in favor of the special interests of the lending and serving industry.


So when I write my briefs I have to do research.  So I was researching Article 1, section 12 came upon the case of Ockletree v. Franciscan Health Sys., which was decided in February of this year.


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About Scott . Stafne

Mr. Stafne is very experienced in property rights, including banking wrongs and foreclosure prevention; Constitutional Law (under the United States and Washington State Constitution); Appellate law; land use law; personal injury law. Scott has recently become a media focal point as his win record of foreclosure defense cases against the largest financial institutions, servicers, trustees as well as MERS have blazed the trail toward ending the foreclosure crisis and representing the rights of the homeowner above the profits and secret dealings of corporations.   Scott sees law as a foundation for establishing a system of twenty first century liberties for the people; and for removing that corruption of power within our government which makes the achievement of real purpose beholden to only money.   Scott Stafne has been an attorney since graduating from the University of Iowa in 1974. He worked for a large law firm in Indianapolis (Baker & Daniels) for two years. Thereafter, he moved to Seattle Washington in order to obtain a Masters of Law degree from the University of Washington, which he obtained in 1977. Scott practiced law while going to graduate school and has practiced ever since.   This is a personal blog, and does not constitute legal advice in any form, and is not necessarily reflective of the policies or opinions of Stafne Law Firm. Visit the Law Firm: https://stafnelaw.com Visit the Google+ Page: https://plus.google.com/+ScottStafne Visit the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/scott.stafne.75   *Web Developer: David J. Posel
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