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LATEST NEWS June 28
Court oral arguments are today at the Washington State Supreme Court in Olympia. There are two cases on the afternoon docket and we are the 2nd case. You can follow along by using this TVW link. The case might be gaveled in around 2pm or later.
You can also join us on the steps of the Temple of Justice at 12:30 pm, and walk into the courtroom with us at 1pm. Read our press release here.
On June 5th the Washington State Supreme unanimously agreed to accept review of Eyman v. Wyman. A letter sent on June 6th notified the parties that oral arguments are scheduled for the afternoon of June 28th. Images of the correspondence from the Court are at the end of this page.
Recap of Events
Successful Signature Gathering
At the end of December we delivered nearly 360,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Election Office in Olympia. It was a tremendous day, an emotional day, with boxes and boxes of petitions being carried by families of loved ones lost to police use of deadly force.
At the Legislature
On January 23rd the Secretary of State Certified I-940 and transmitted it to the Legislature. Our polling showed that nearly 70% of all voters would support I-940, which was a powerful message to the legislature and law enforcement. The Senate and the House of Representations held a joint hearing on February 20th and you can listen to the testimony here. This grass roots power had an impact. On March 8th the legislature adopted I-940 and also enacted ESHB 3003, which amended I-940. This bill was the result of De-Escalate Washington sitting down with Law Enforcement, Legislators, and others during the last weeks of session to reach common ground on issues of concern to law enforcement. We were encouraged by the coming together, appreciative of the support of legislators, and by the consensus legislation that resulted.
The Court Challenge
On March 12th Tim Eyman filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court challenging the legislature's adoption of I-940 and its enactment of ESHB 3003. Mr. Eyman, joined by Senator Padden, had asked that I-940 be placed on the November ballot, along with ESHB 3003 as an alternative. De-Escalate Washington intervened as a full party defending the legislature's adoption of I-940 and ESHB 3003.
The hearing in Superior Court was Friday April 20th and Judge Schaller ruled from the bench that ESHB 3003 was void and directed the Secretary of State to put I-940 on the November ballot.
De-Escalate has appealed Judge Schaller's ruling directly to the Supreme Court. We will be asking the Court to reverse the trial court decision and uphold the legislature's actions. The legislature has appealed too, as has Mr. Eyman and Senator Padden. The Secretary of State has proposed an expedited schedule with completion of the process by the end of August so that ballots and voter pamphlets can be printed in September.
- The State Supreme Court set June 5 as the date to decide whether they will accept review.
- The court made a unanimous decision to retain the case, and accept the expedited schedule.
- On June 6th they filed their order and notified the parties.
- The Court set oral arguments for June 28th, in the afternoon.
The goal remains the same – reduce violence by changing police practices and culture, increase accountability, and build trust between law enforcement and the community. Washington will be the first state in the nation to require that all law enforcement receive violence de-escalation and mental health training and the first to require that officers provide first aid at the scene. I-940 removes the de facto immunity for criminal liability, which made this State an outlier, and replaces it with an objective standard (the reasonable officer standard.) A significant change is the requirement for completely independent investigations of the use of force. The initiative sets out a rule-making process for policy decisions that requires community voices at the table. I-940 delivers for criminal justice, social justice, and racial justice.
The Next Steps and Work Underway
De-Escalate Washington is totally committed to seeing this through. We are fighting for I-940 in court, and if it is sent to the ballot we will run a strong campaign so that we are successful in November.
The criminal justice training commission will in the near future begin its work on developing the rules on curriculum and setting hours for initial and periodic training for de-escalation. There are other rules as well that have to be adopted, including criteria for independent investigations and guidance on rendering first aid.
Community voices will be at the table for all of it and we will be keeping you informed about the process and how you can get involved. We look forward to working closely with you to make sure I-940 is fully implemented so that we see real change in our communities.