Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGLO 1979 No. 39 -
Attorney General Slade Gorton


RCW 40.04.100 does not require that the State Law Librarian furnish a complete copy of all Washington Appellate Reports, including all decisions of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington and all decisions of the Washington State Court of Appeals, for each superior court courtroom regularly used by a superior court judge.

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                                                                October 19, 1979

Honorable Jeffrey C. Sullivan
Prosecuting Attorney
Yakima County
329 County Courthouse
Yakima, Washington 98901                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1979 No. 39

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you have requested our opinion on the following question:

            Does RCW 40.04.100 require that the State Law Librarian furnish a complete copy of all Washington Appellate Reports including all decisions of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington and all decisions of the Washington State Court of Appeals for each Superior Court Courtroom regularly used by a Superior Court Judge?

            We answer the foregoing question in the negative.


            RCW 40.04.100 relates to the distribution of State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals reports.  The statute reads, insofar as is here material, as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "The supreme court reports and the court of appeals reports shall be distributed by the state law librarian as follows:

            "(1) Each supreme court justice and court of appeals judge is entitled to receive one copy of each volume containing an opinion signed by him.

            "(2) The state law librarian shall retain such copies as are necessary of each for the benefit of the state law library, the supreme court and its subsidiary offices; and the court of appeals and its subsidiary offices; he shall provide one copy each for the official use of the attorney general and for each assistant attorney general maintaining his office in the attorney general's suite; three copies for the office of prosecuting attorney, in class A counties; two copies for such office in first class counties, and one copy for each other prosecuting attorney; one for each United States district court room and every superior court room in this state if regularly used by a judge of such courts; one copy for the use of each state department maintaining a separate office at the state capitol; one copy to the office of program planning and fiscal management, and one copy to the division of inheritance tax and escheats; one copy each to the United States supreme court, to the United States district attorney's offices at Seattle and Spokane, to the office of the United States attorney general, the library of the circuit court of appeals of the ninth circuit, the Seattle public library, the Tacoma public library, the Spokane public library, the University of Washington library, and the Washington State University library; three copies for the Library of Congress; and, for educational purposes, twelve copies to the University of Washington law library, two copies to the University of Puget Sound law library, and two copies to the Gonzaga University law school library and to such other accredited law school libraries as are hereafter established in this state; six copies to the King County law library; and one copy to each county law library  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] organized pursuant to law in class AA counties, class A counties and in counties of the first, second and third class.

            ". . ."

            In posing your question you have advised us of your own opinion thereon as follows:

            "It is my opinion having read RCW 40.04.100 that the only purpose of that statute is to provide the Judges of the Superior Courts with a complete set of the Washington Reports.  To receive new volumes only would be of little value to the Court in reviewing and researching Washington law."

            We must respectively disagree.  Desirable though it undoubtedly would be not only to the various superior courts but to all of the other agencies listed in subsection (2) of the statute, as above quoted‑-including both the attorney general's office and each county prosecuting attorney's office‑-to be provided with one or more free sets of the bound volumes of both the Washington Reports and Washington Appellate Reports by the state librarian, that simply is not what the statute, as we read it, requires.  Instead, the statute addresses itself to the prospective distribution of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals reports by the state law librarian as those reports are issued.  Clearly, from the wording and organization of the statute, no valid distinction can be made between the distribution of such reports to the counties for each of their courtrooms, on the one hand, and the distribution of reports to, or for, each and every one of the other offices or agencies therein listed, on the other.

            It is hoped that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Deputy Attorney General