Monday, August 14, 2006

Vehicular Homicide and Separation of Powers

Does the vehicular homicide statute violate the separation of powers doctrine? In a Division II case decided last week, the appellant argued that the legislature improperly delegated definition of a term in RCW 46.61.520, because it made proximate cause an element of the offense without defining it. The court didn't buy the argument, but noted that it was an argument of first impression, and so published the discussion. State v. David, --- P.3d ---, 2006 WL 228587 (Wash. App. Aug. 8, 2006)(published in part), Westlaw, courts.

The unpublished portion of the opinion discusses various evidentiary and trial issues: (1) OK for the jury to see a picture of the victim when she was alive; (2) OK to exclude the victim's toxicology report; (3) jury instructions on proximate cause and DUI were fine; (4) prosecutorial misconduct in remarks during closing argument wasn't shown; (5) exceptional sentence upheld.

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