Washington state’s Supreme Court essentially decriminalized drug possession yesterday after declaring the state’s felony drug possession law to be unconstitutional.
The Washington state Supreme Court has struck down the state’s felony drug possession law as unconstitutional, Q13 Fox reports. In the ruling, the high court determined that the law criminalizes “innocent and passive possession” because it is a “strict liability” law, meaning prosecutors don’t need to prove intent.968730
The decision comes in the case of Shannon Blake who was arrested as part of a stolen vehicle investigation in Spokane in 2016, according to court documents. At the jail, corrections officers found a small amount of methamphetamine in the coin pocket of her jeans and charged her with felony drug possession. During her trial, Blake contended that a friend had purchased the jeans at a secondhand store and given them to her two days prior to the arrest – an affirmative defense of “unwitting possession,” according to the court documents. Her boyfriend confirmed her story and testified that Blake did not use drugs. Ultimately, Blake was convicted but on appeal argued that “requiring her to prove unwitting possession to the charged offense violates due process.”
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