Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1978 NO. 11 > Apr 19 1978

Except in the case of violations occurring between September 8, 1975 and July 1, 1976, to which RCW 10.19.130 applies, a person who fails to appear before a court after release on personal recognizance may not be charged with a crime under that statute; instead, the proper statute to be invoked in such cases is RCW 9A.76.170.

AGLO 1978 NO. 11 > Mar 21 1978

The Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Paroles is not required to fix a mandatory minimum prison term under RCW 9.95.040 in those cases where a conviction is accompanied only by a special finding, entered pursuant to the provisions of RCW 9.41.025, that the individual in question was armed with a firearm at the time of the commission of his offense; in order for the Board's discretion to be so restricted there must, either in addition or instead, be a special finding entered pursuant to RCW 9.95.015 specifying that the individual was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of commission of the crime.

AGO 1989 NO. 13 > Jul 18 1989

1.In light of RCW 69.50.412, which makes it a criminal violation to deliver drug paraphernalia, a regional AIDS service network established pursuant to RCW 70.24.400 may not lawfully authorize the distribution of hypodermic needles to intravenous drug users.2.To the extent a regional AIDS service network authorizes the distribution of hypodermic needles under the purported authority of chapter 70.24 RCW, the persons actually distributing the needles are not generally exempt from criminal prosecution; however, certain persons might be exempt in specific cases.

AGLO 1973 NO. 13 > Jan 19 1973

It remains a misdemeanor to deliver a pistol to a person who is under 21 years of age regardless of chapter 292, Laws of 1971, Ex. Sess.

AGO 1975 NO. 14 > Jul 3 1975

Except where covered by a juvenile court order under § 1, chapter 170, Laws of 1975, 1st Ex. Sess., in the case of a juvenile in the custody of the department of social and health services who was not yet 18 when that law became effective, a juvenile who has been adjudged to be a delinquent child under RCW 13.04.010, et seq., and has therefore been committed by the juvenile court under RCW 13.04.095, may not, in view of In re Carson , 84 Wn.2d 969 (1975), continue to be held in custody solely on that basis after attaining the age of 18 years.

AGO 1976 NO. 14 > Jul 29 1976

Under the provisions of § 1, chapter 96, Laws of 1975-76, 2nd Ex. Sess., costs incurred at public expense for the payment of appointed counsel for the defendant in a criminal case as well as witness fees paid by the state for its own and defendant's witnesses under chapter 2.40 RCW may be recovered pursuant to court order from the defendant if convicted; however, costs incurred in paying the compensation of jurors under RCW 2.36.150 may not be so recovered and the recovery of statutory filing fees from a convicted criminal defendant remains governed, as before, by the provisions of RCW 36.18.020(15).

AGO 1976 NO. 15 > Aug 5 1976

(1) Recent decisions by the United States Supreme Court holding mandatory death penalty laws to be unconstitutional have rendered RCW 9A.32.046, enacted pursuant to Initiative No. 316, constitutionally unenforceable; however, in line with other supreme court decisions involving death penalty laws a constitutionally valid death penalty statute may still be enacted in accordance with guidelines set forth in those decisions.    (2) Because RCW 9A.32.046 was enacted as a part of Initiative No. 316 at the 1975 state general election, that statute may not be repealed by the legislature for a period of two years following its enactment and it may only be amended during such period by a two-thirds majority vote of the members of both houses of the legislature; however, this existing state death penalty statute may be amended or repealed at any time pursuant to an initiative or referendum measure approved by the voters.   (3) It is possible that legislation establishing a new, constitutionally valid, death penalty for the state of Washington could be enacted by the legislature by a simple majority vote, even during the immediate two-year period following the passage of Initiative No. 316, if the new law is not drafted as either an amendment or repeal of RCW 9A.32.046.

AGO 1989 NO. 16 > Aug 25 1989

1.RCW 9.02.010 is still unenforceable insofar as it purports, in conjunction with RCW 9.02.060 et seq., to prohibit abortions occurring more than four lunar months after conception but prior to viability.2.Webster v. Reproductive Health Servs., 57 U.S.L.W. 5023 (1989) does not overrule Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147, 93 S. Ct. 705 (1973); the effect of Webster is to uphold provisions of Missouri statutes which have no counterparts in Washington statute; thus Roe still renders most of Washington's abortion statute (RCW 9.02.010 through .090) unenforceable.3.The conclusions reached in AGO 1973 No. 7, that Roe rendered several of Washington's abortion provisions unenforceable, remain valid after Webster v. Reproductive Health Servs., 57 U.S.L.W. 5023 (1989); we decline to speculate about the future direction of case law on abortion.4.There is no current law in Washington prohibiting the use of public funds for abortions; Webster v. Reproductive Health Servs., 57 U.S.L.W. 5023 (1989) does not change Washington law in this regard.

AGO 1988 NO. 16 > Aug 30 1988

It is not unlawful under RCW 9.41.250 to merely possess a device for suppressing the noise of a firearm.

AGLO 1977 NO. 16 > Apr 8 1977

(1) Mere sounds, as distinguished from verbal conversation, occurring in connection with an event where a police officer is issuing a citation to a citizen on a public street do not constitute "private conversations" within the meaning of RCW 9.73.030(2).

(2) Verbal conversations occurring in connection with such an event may fall within the scope of a "private conversation" depending upon whether the factual circumstances are such as to indicate that at least one of the conversants reasonably intended that the conversation was to be for the ears of the participants only.

(3) The fact that the parties to a "private conversation" are aware that such conversation is being recorded does not constitute "consent" for the purposes of RCW 9.73.030(2) except to the limited extent provided for therein with respect to certain recordings by the news media.