Case: Davison v. State of Washington

17-01968 | Washington state trial court

Filed Date: April 3, 2017

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The ACLU of Washington State filed this class action lawsuit against the Office of Public Defense (OPD) for failing to provide adequate defense to juveniles in Grays Harbor County, violating their Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and Article I, §§ 3 and 22 of the Washington state Constitution. The suit was filed on April 3, 2017. The complaint stated that children have the same right to due process as adults, and if anything, the right is more important for children because they cannot adv…

The ACLU of Washington State filed this class action lawsuit against the Office of Public Defense (OPD) for failing to provide adequate defense to juveniles in Grays Harbor County, violating their Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and Article I, §§ 3 and 22 of the Washington state Constitution. The suit was filed on April 3, 2017.

The complaint stated that children have the same right to due process as adults, and if anything, the right is more important for children because they cannot advocate for their own legal rights. The complaint alleges that children in Grays Harbor are being functionally denied counsel because attorneys are not present long enough to provide meaningful advocacy and adversarial testing. The complaint also alleged that the State is aware of the problem, and of several other constitutional violations, such as holding children on unchallenged bail amounts; giving children inadequate advice of rights, option, and consequences; and encouraging children to plead guilty without adequate consideration of legal defenses.

The proposed plaintiff class consisted of "all indigent persons who have or will have juvenile offender cases pending in pretrial status in Grays Harbor County Juvenile Court, and who have the constitutional right to appointment of counsel." The complaint estimated that approximately 20 cases are in pretrial status at any given time.

The complaint sought declaratory judgment stating that the current services children receive are constitutionally inadequate, and that the State is responsible for the constitutional deficiencies.

An earlier complaint was filed on March 23, 2017 by a taxpayer, demanding that the State Attorney general institute the proposed action. The Washington State Attorney General declined to institute the action on the grounds that it represented defendants. The current action was subsequently filed. Because of the conflict of interest with the Attorney General, an amended complaint, filed on May 12, 2017, requested that the court declare that the defendants possess the legal authority, as well as the "competence, expertise, and authority" to decide how to fix the constitutional inadequacies in the public defense system.

The case moved steadily toward trial throughout 2017 and 2018. A non-jury trial is scheduled for March 3, 2019. The case is still ongoing.

Summary Authors

Rachel Carpman (2/15/2019)

Related Cases

Allen v. Edwards, Louisiana state trial court (2017)

People


Judge(s)

Lanese, Christopher (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chiang, Emily (Washington)

Harrington, Mathew L. (Washington)

Schuster, Breanne (Washington)

Talner, Nancy Lynn (Washington)

Wang, Theresa H. (Washington)

Judge(s)

Lanese, Christopher (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chiang, Emily (Washington)

Harrington, Mathew L. (Washington)

Schuster, Breanne (Washington)

Talner, Nancy Lynn (Washington)

Wang, Theresa H. (Washington)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Feb. 8, 2019 Docket

Class Action Complaint for Declaratory Relief

April 3, 2017 Complaint

First Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory Relief

May 12, 2017 Complaint

Resources

Title Description External URL

Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel

Vidhya K. Reddy

This paper traces the evolution of litigative efforts to structurally reform state and local indigent defense systems, focusing on the potential of modern class action lawsuits to overcome political … May 7, 2007 None

Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense

Norman Lefstein

Chapter 1: The Failure to Implement the Right to Counsel Due to Excessive Caseloads <br />A. The Constitutional Right to Counsel: Brief Overview <br />B. Excessive Workloads: A Pervasive National P… Jan. 1, 2011 http://www.americanbar.org/...

Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.

National Right to Counsel Committee

[Edited, from the website:] <br /> <br />[Notwithstanding the nominal right of indigent defendants to publicly provided counsel,] Today, in criminal and juvenile proceedings in state courts, somet… April 14, 2009 http://www.constitutionproject.org/...

The Third Generation of Indigent Defense Litigation

Cara Drinan

For years, scholars have documented the national crisis in indigent defense and its many tragic implications, and yet the crisis persists. Traditionally, the appellate and political processes were th… Jan. 1, 2009 http://papers.ssrn.com/...

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Washington

Case Type(s):

Indigent Defense

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 3, 2017

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All indigent persons who have or will have juvenile offender cases pending in pretrial status in Grays Harbor County Juvenile Court, and who have the constitutional right to appointment of counsel.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

State of Washington, State

Case Details

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

Reproductive rights:

Fetus Identity

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Confidentiality

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Juveniles

Quality of representation

Discrimination-basis:

Age discrimination