Rantz: WA Supreme Court legalized drugs, violent criminals will be released early

Feb 25, 2021, 8:31 PM | Updated: Feb 26, 2021, 5:31 am
Follow @https://twitter.com/jasonrantz...

The Washington State Supreme Court effectively legalized drugs in a stunning and dangerous decision. Thousands of violent felons, like child rapists, could be released as a result.

The misguided court’s split ruling declares the state’s felony drug possession law is unconstitutional. Consequently, police departments across the state, including in Seattle and Tacoma, will no longer arrest individuals for simple drug possession.

The court’s claim makes little sense. It’s driven by ideology. And the only way to correct this egregious ruling is through the Legislature. But state Democrats were already actively pursuing drug legalization, making a fix unlikely.

Drugs were legalized in Washington

The state Supreme Court argued that the mere act of finding an illicit substance on someone’s person or on their property is not enough to prove they had any intent to possess those drugs. In other words, they could unknowingly be in possession of heroin or cocaine and they shouldn’t have to prove to the court that they are innocent. We can pretend this frequently happens, I guess.

As such, RCW 69.50.4013 Section 1 “violates the due process clauses of the state and federal constitutions and is void.” But without this statute, simple possession of a drug cannot be prosecuted.

Caught with an alarming amount of heroin that you’re likely selling? And this wasn’t your first time? Just claim you didn’t know you had it. The Supreme Court thinks it’s reasonable to assume the person didn’t know they were in possession.

One wonders if this ridiculous standard would apply to carrying an illegal gun or having child pornography on your laptop. The court’s twisted logic suggests merely claiming you didn’t know you had it should give you a pass.

The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys emailed county attorneys who advise law enforcement. They told them to warn law enforcement agencies that “police officers must immediately stop making arrests or issuing citations for simple possession of drugs. No search warrants. No detentions upon suspicion of simple possession awaiting canine units, etc.”

“[The Washington Supreme Court] basically created new constitutional doctrine in order to strike down the statute, instead of just reading a requirement of intent into the statute,” former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Justices Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Mary Yu, Raquel Montoya-Lewis, G. Helen Whitener, and Chief Justice Steven Gonzalez are responsible for this ruling. These are all elected positions.

Violent criminals will likely be released early now

Charges of simple possession aren’t always just about simple possession. It’s a way to get dangerous criminals off the streets via an easily provable offense.

Oftentimes, serious criminals cover their tracks well — a drug operation, for example, where law enforcement knows they’re acting illegally, but are struggling to find witnesses willing to testify or direct evidence tying the suspect to the crime. But they could be caught with enough drugs on their person that it could be charged, taking a dangerous criminal off the streets.

What’s worse, this ruling impacts criminals that don’t immediately come to mind.

When a judge sentences a criminal, the time served is based on a number of issues, including past crimes. This decision is retroactive and will mean thousands of cases have to be resentenced. If a child rapist earned extra time because of prior drug possession charges, that extra time is gone and would result in a quicker release. That’s justice served?

There’s little to be done

This ruling even alarms King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. He rarely prosecutes drug possession cases, yet he’s asking the Legislature to “act with a sense of urgency to add the necessary elements to make this statute constitutional this session, and not leave a defective statute on the books.”

Why the concern? The statute the court is pretending is unconstitutional can be used to prosecute drug dealers and prolific offenders. Satterberg’s office often downgrades drug crimes, like dealing, to simple possession. Are you connecting the dots yet?

The only way to fix the mess this ruling caused — a position the five Justices took knowing its implications — is indeed through the Legislature. That won’t happen.

Washington Democrats were already in the process of passing The Pathways to Recovery Act, which would legalize personal possession of all drugs, regardless of intent. It was pitched as a way to help addicts, though it would just lead to their overdose deaths. It seems unlikely the state Legislature, under radical Democrat control, will act.

“I wouldn’t count on the Legislature riding to the rescue here,” McKenna said.

WA Supreme Court was political

It’s clear the state Supreme Court took this issue on via a social justice lens, not a legal one.

“And drug offenders in particular are subject to countless harsh collateral consequences affecting all aspects of their lives,” they write. Indeed they are. Penalties are used to serve as a disincentive to commit acts society deems harmful.

You know who are also “subject to countless harsh collateral consequences affecting all aspects of their lives”? Murderers. Is a murderer the same as a drug user? No — but the logic the court uses isn’t all that complex. It’s shockingly simple-minded.

Though it is worth noting that because of this ruling, there will be more drug users falling deeper into their addiction. The deeper the addiction, the more erratic their behavior. That doesn’t just impact the individual. It impacts us all.

Activists and media giddy

Activist groups and progressive media voices are, of course, giddy.

If you read left-wing Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter’s celebratory framing of this story, you’d hardly know the implications of this ruling. It manages to leave out voices sounding the alarms. It offers positive interviews from two attorneys, but no voices expressing concern.

“The court correctly recognized the injustice of convicting people for innocent conduct,” Richard Lechich, Washington Appellate Project, told the Seattle Times. “While the decision cannot rectify the harm this law caused to so many communities, particularly communities of color, it at least puts an end to it.”

Oh yes. Let us pretend we have punished countless people for unknowingly possessing illicit drugs. Who among us hasn’t reached into our pockets, found an eight ball, then wondered how it got there?

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Frank Sumrall

State Rep: ‘None of these locations are suitable’ for a future airport

According to Jason Rantz, the acting chairman of CACC, Warren Hendrickson, stated he believes none of the airport locations will move forward.
2 days ago
Frank Sumrall

Ballard brewery owner nearly loses business to homeless fire

Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Co. in Ballard was nearly destroyed after a fire created by a homeless person nearly engulfed the property in flames.
3 days ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Shocking ignorance as Seattle Public Health blames drug ODs on racism, drug laws

Seattle Public Health is breathtakingly out of touch with the local drug crisis. It's no wonder more addicts keep dying on our streets.
4 days ago
Max Gross

Gross: Can anti-intrusion fog system stop Seattle crime in its tracks?

DensityUSA makes ‘anti-intrusion fogging systems’ that are meant to make it impossible for criminals to see once a break-in occurs.
5 days ago
women prison inmates...
Jason Rantz Show

WA Rep: Bill to protect women inmates, transgenders ‘going nowhere’

WA Rep. Jacobsen co-authored a bill that proposes if someone's been convicted of sex crimes, they cannot be housed near women inmates.
5 days ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Identity-obsessed Progressives can’t fathom crime without racism

We were shocked, disgusted, and maybe angry, but we saw them for what they were without defaulting the blame on racism.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Rantz: WA Supreme Court legalized drugs, violent criminals will be released early