(Tony Sifert, Headline USA) The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that Washington courts must consider the “race and ethnicity” of anyone who has been “seized” by police when determining the legality of the seizure, in another twist to the ongoing creep of woke into the legal system.
The case concerned the plight of an Asian man, Palla Sum, who had been questioned by police after being discovered sleeping in his car “in an area known for stolen vehicles,” the Seattle Times reported.
According to the court’s summary of the events, Sum gave police a false name, told them he did not own the car, and then sped away, blowing a stop sign and eventually crashing into a resident’s yard.
Sum was subsequently discovered to be in illegal possession of a handgun.
Sum was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, and making a false statement to police.
The Washington Supreme Court overturned Sum’s conviction, arguing that Sum was “unlawfully seized” and that his race “is one of many relevant circumstances that must be considered in determining when he was seized by [the police].”
“Today, we formally recognize what has always been true: in interactions with law enforcement, race and ethnicity matter,” Justice Mary Yu wrote in her opinion.
“Therefore, courts must consider the race and ethnicity of the allegedly seized person as part of the totality of the circumstances when deciding whether there was a seizure.”
In her opinion, Yu developed a novel “objective test” that would determine whether a seizure had occurred, a test which assumes that any “objective observer” understands that Washington police are always-already either explicitly or implicitly biased against “BIPOC” individuals.
“For purposes of this analysis, an objective observer is aware that implicit, institutional, and unconscious biases, in addition to purposeful discrimination, have resulted in disproportionate police contacts, investigative seizures, and uses of force against Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) in Washington,” Yu wrote.
At Legal Insurrection, legal scholar William Jacobson criticized Yu’s reasoning.
“This is a good example of how social justice and Critical Race Theory verbiage and language accelerated by the BLM protests of 2020 have penetrated the judiciary,” Jacobson wrote.