Monday, April 20, 2009

Court to review 10-year-old suicide ruling

In 1998 a woman was found shot to death in her bedroom closet and the coroner ruled it a suicide. But the woman's mother and the detective on the case thought it was a homicide. The sheriff closed the case. Now the mother is having the coroner's decision reviewed in Lewis County Superior Court. Local News | Court to review 10-year-old suicide ruling | Seattle Times Newspaper, April 20, 2009.

The Times article says that this is the first time the 1987 law allowing judicial review has been used. It's RCW 68.50.015

Immunity for determining cause and manner of death — Judicial review of determination.

A county coroner or county medical examiner or persons acting in that capacity shall be immune from civil liability for determining the cause and manner of death. The accuracy of the determinations is subject to judicial review.

[1987 c 263 § 1.]
In order to get to this point -- having the superior court act -- the mother had get a ruling from the Court of Appeals, finding, among other things, that the statute of limitations had been tolled. Thompson v. Wilson, 142 Wash.App. 803, 175 P.3d 1149, Findlaw (Wash. App. (Div. 2) 2008).


legalheiress said...

Granting that this was not a case of suicide, as this is already a ten year old case evidence may have already lost or contaminated.

Legal Aid said...

I just hope vital pieces of evidence were not contaminated or tampered as this case happened 10 years ago.