Monday, June 13, 2022

The Washington State Supreme Court Has Decided the Law Must Be Applied Differently Depending on a Person's Race

 Washington v. Palla Sum (Wash. 2022):

Our precedent has always required that the seizure inquiry be made in light of the totality of the circumstances, and we have never stated that race and ethnicity cannot be relevant circumstances. However, we have not explicitly held that in interactions with law enforcement, race and ethnicity matter. We do so today.

A police officer asked a person passed in his car who owned the car.  The driver was unsure, although it turned out to be him.  (Some questions are hard when passed out at the wheel.) 

Sum provided a false name and date of birth. The passenger gave his true name and birth date. ...

Sum drove at a high rate of speed through a stop sign and multiple red lights before ultimately crashing in someone’s front yard. Deputy Rickerson handcuffed Sum and read him the Miranda1 warnings.

I could have sworn the 14th Amendment required equal protection of the law regardless of race.  Apparently:

Sum petitioned for review, reiterating his previous arguments and further contending for the first time that “there is no justification—aside from unacceptably ignoring the issue of race altogether—for courts considering the totality of the circumstances to disregard the effect of race as one of the circumstances affecting evaluation of police contact.”

So there is one set of rules for white people and different rules for BIPOCs.  Somewhere, Strom Thurmond is smiling. 

A little more explanation.   If an officer in Washington State asks for your ID, this is a seizure.  He apparently needs a warrant or probable cause to do so if you are a BIPOC but apparently not if you are white. 

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