Zuanich Law Newsletter
Episode #58: The Judges Episode
January 22, 2022
Well, that was a long hiatus.
The last few months have been crazy busy … but really it’s not my fault.
It’s the Judges. Yes, I’ll explain why.
Over the past several months, a number of my attorney subscribers have become judges and now have become judicial subscribers. Now, I mean, I’m happy for them and whatever … but also annoyed.
Every time a lawyer joined the bench, I have to manually go into settings and change them from attorney to judge because I’m OCD and my list has to be perfectly accurate.
And that took lots of times. Over the last few months, I’ve had to spend LITERALLY at least 10 minutes (10 MINUTES) making changes, and to be honest, that 10 minutes threw off the past 4 months.
But I’m not petty, so I’ve moved on from this…I’ve suffered in silence but come out of this a stronger person.
Let’s turn the POSITIVE.
This episode is special because it is my first combined episode. My family law subscribes AND my criminal law subscribers. Because I figured …. I know my criminal friends can’t wait to finally read an episode about spousal maintenance. And my family law friends can’t wait to read about PRP and CrRLJ 3.3.
Your wait is over … sort of.
2022 … Welcome.
State v. Hall
Court of Appeals, Division 1
January 10, 2022
(We start with a case for the criminal law crew).
The bailiff saves the day … at least for the defense.
Facts: During jury deliberations, jury asks if Juror 4 could be dismissed because she wanted to leave (not sick, just wanted to leave) and asked for alternate juror to replace Juror 4. Bailiff said: “I told them that if they did that, they’d have to start over and that generally that’s not what the alternate is for…”
Shortly thereafter, jury reached guilty verdict. After being polled, none of the jurors said that bailiff’s comments about possible substitution of Juror 4 influenced their verdict. Court denied Hall’s request for mistrial.
Holding: The bailiff fucked up.
OK, the Court didn’t say that exactly. If you’re being technical, the COA held that the “bailiff’s communications to the jury had a possible prejudicial impact requiring reversal and a new trial.” But let’s not kid ourselves: the bailiff fucked up.
This cases turned on plain old statutory interpretation. RCW 4.44.300 prohibits a bailiff from communicating with a jury during deliberations, except to inquire if they have reached a verdict.
The State argued that the jurors were polled, and said none of them said the comments affected it. Bullshit, the COA ruled. After deliberating for more than 8 days…the jury came back with a guilty verdict within 20 minutes of the bailiff’s comments. That’s at least suspicious, if not really suspicious.
New trial for Hall.
In re Marriage Todorov and Ha
Court of Appeals, Division One
January 3, 2022
Hell hath no fury like a … man who just realized his new wife actually had a boyfriend when he married her.
Facts: Todorov meets Ha. Todorov falls in love with Ha. Todorov asked Ha if she had been in any prior relationships before. Ha says no. Todorov is happy. Todorov searches Ha’s social media posts. Todorov sees picture of Ha holding pictures with (dramatic music) … another man. Todorov is sad. Todorov moves out of family home.
Todorov files petition to annul marriage.
Holding: Sorry, Todorov.
RCW 26 allows a court to invalidate a marriage if party “was induced to enter the marriage” by “fraud involving the essentials of marriage.” What are essentials of the marriage? That’s a good question, COA says, because there is very little case law about it. Except for one case … where the WA Supreme Court said that a spouse not telling the other spouse that he or she would refuse to have sex with the spouse after getting married seemed pretty essential. But lying about your previous relationships … not enough.
This kind of misrepresentation “was not so extreme that it amounted to fraud.” Poor Todorov.
My take: Obviously, you should start scrolling through your boyfriend / girlfriend’s social media feed right now. And if he / she confronts you, just say: “Honey, it’s not me. The Judges said I had to.”
About Us: Zuanich Law focuses on criminal and civil appeals, DOL appeals, and post-conviction relief. Our civil practice focuses on personal injury, family law, breach of contract protection order hearings, property law, landlord-tenant law, and general civil litigation.