City of Fircrest v. Jensen, No. 76738-6.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtC. Johnson
Citation143 P.3d 776,158 Wn.2d 384
Decision Date05 October 2006
Docket NumberNo. 76738-6.
PartiesCITY OF FIRCREST, Respondent, v. Theo JENSEN, Appellant.

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143 P.3d 776
158 Wn.2d 384
CITY OF FIRCREST, Respondent,
v.
Theo JENSEN, Appellant.
No. 76738-6.
Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.
Argued October 27, 2005.
Decided October 5, 2006.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Linda Medeiros Callahan, Callahan Law, Shelton, Theodore Wayne Vosk, Attorney at Law, Bothell, for Appellant.

Michael Brian Smith, Attorney at Law, Tacoma, Pamela Beth Loginsky, Washington Assoc of Prosecuting Atty, Olympia, for Respondent.

Susan Sackett DanPullo, Office of the Atty. Gen., Olympia, for Amicus Curiae Wash. State Dept. of Licensing.

Shannon Elizabeth Inglis, Attorney General's Office, Seattle, for Amicus Curiae Wash. State Patrol.

C. JOHNSON, J.


¶ 1 This case involves a challenge to Substitute House Bill 30551 (SHB 3055), "AN ACT Relating to admissibility of DUI (driving under the influence of an intoxicant) tests; amending RCW 46.61.506; reenacting and amending RCW 46.20.308 and 46.20.3101; and creating a new section." Substitute H.B. 3055, 58th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash.2004). The appellant argues the act violates either the United States Constitution or the Washington Constitution by (1) including more than one subject in its title (2) not including the subject of the bill in its title (3) violating the doctrine of separation of powers and/or (4) violating due process by creating a mandatory rebuttable presumption. SHB 3055 took effect on June 10, 2004, and has been challenged in various municipal and district courts on similar grounds with varying results. In this case, the municipal court judge rejected all challenges to the act. We affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2 On March 22, 2004, the legislature enacted SHB 3055. In the bill's first section, the legislature conveys its frustration with the inadequacy of previous attempts to curtail the incidence of DUI and sets a goal of ensuring swift and certain consequences for those who drink and drive. In section 2, the bill amends RCW 46.20.308, the implied consent statute, to allow police officers to obtain search warrants for a person's blood or breath, even if that person consents to the search. The bill also revises the warnings a police officer must give to a driver before conducting a breath or blood alcohol concentration test (BAC). These revisions were

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intended to reflect the then-current state of the law. Section 4 amends RCW 46.61.506 by codifying the foundational requirements for the admissibility of BAC test results and expands the list of people qualified to administer a blood test under RCW 46.20.308.

¶ 3 The facts giving rise to this claim are undisputed. During the early morning hours of October 23, 2004, appellant Theo Jensen was pulled over for speeding by a city of Fircrest police officer. The officer noticed the smell of alcohol on Jensen's breath and proceeded to conduct field sobriety tests. Based on the results of the tests, the smell of alcohol on Jensen's breath, and the fact that Jensen had been speeding, the officer arrested Jensen and took him to the police station to conduct a BAC test. The BAC test results were 0.043 and 0.042, above the 0.02 legal limit for persons under the age of 21.

¶ 4 Jensen moved to suppress the test results on the grounds that SHB 3055 is unconstitutional. The municipal court heard arguments and ultimately denied the motion. Jensen was convicted of driver under 21 consuming alcohol, RCW 46.61.503. Jensen petitioned for direct review of his case under RAP 4.3.

ANALYSIS

¶ 5 We review challenges to the constitutionality of legislation de novo. The party challenging the legislation bears the burden of showing the legislation is unconstitutional. The appellant challenges SHB 3055 on three grounds. First, he argues the bill violates article II, section 19 of the Washington Constitution by either containing more than one subject in the title or not reflecting the subject of the bill in the title. Next, he argues the act violates the doctrine of separation of powers by allowing the legislature to usurp the power of the judiciary to determine the admissibility of evidence. Finally, he argues the substance of the act violates a defendant's due process rights to a fair trial.

I. ARTICLE II, SECTION 19

¶ 6 Article II, section 19 of the Washington Constitution reads, "No bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title." This has been interpreted as creating two distinct prohibitions: first, no bill shall embrace more than one subject (the single-subject rule); and second, no bill shall have a subject not expressed in the title (the subject-in-title rule). State ex rel. Citizens v. Murphy, 151 Wash.2d 226, 249, 88 P.3d 375 (2004). This constitutional mandate serves three distinct purposes:

(1) to protect and enlighten the members of the legislature against provisions in bills of which the titles give no intimation; (2) to apprise the people, through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, concerning the subjects of legislation that are being considered; and (3) to prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation. We have declared that when laws are enacted in violation of this constitutional mandate, the courts will not hesitate to declare them void.

Patrice v. Murphy, 136 Wash.2d 845, 851-52, 966 P.2d 1271 (1998) (quoting State ex rel. Wash. Toll Bridge Auth. v. Yelle, 32 Wash.2d 13, 24, 200 P.2d 467 (1948)). Violation of either the single-subject rule or the subject-in-title rule is sufficient to declare the relevant provisions of the bill unconstitutional. Patrice, 136 Wash.2d at 852, 966 P.2d 1271. Article II, section 19 is liberally construed in favor of upholding the challenged legislation. The burden is on the challenger to establish the bill's unconstitutionality beyond a reasonable doubt.

¶ 7 As a threshold matter, this court must first decide the relevant title of the act. As both parties note, there exists a line of cases establishing that when an act purports to amend a prior act, the relevant title to be examined under article II, section 19 is the title of the original act. St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co. v. State, 40 Wash.2d 347, 355, 243 P.2d 474 (1952).2 Although this rule has

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never been expressly overruled, it has been called into question by its absence from more recent article II, section 19 challenges involving amendatory acts. See, e.g., Fray v. Spokane County, 134 Wash.2d 637, 952 P.2d 601 (1998) (in article II, section 19 challenge, only the title of the amendatory act was considered). Of the seven lower court rulings submitted by the appellant, four declined to follow St. Paul and analyzed the amendatory title of the act. The remaining three followed St. Paul and analyzed the title of the original act.

¶ 8 The appellant argues that St. Paul and its progeny are an anomaly and should be overruled here. They cite the language of article II, section 19 to assert that the words "[n]o bill" expresses the framers' intention that the mandate apply equally to both original and amendatory acts. The respondent argues only that the appellant has failed to meet its burden to overturn the St. Paul line of cases.

¶ 9 We agree with the respondent that the appellant has failed to show the St. Paul rule, requiring examination of the original title, is harmful and incorrect. Any original act passed by the legislature is subject to traditional article II, section 19 challenges, ensuring compliance with our constitution and adherence to the goals stated above. When amending an original act, it is unnecessary to examine the amendatory title for strict compliance with article II, section 19 because the underlying act has already passed such scrutiny. In these cases, we need only inquire if the amendatory act explicitly identifies what sections of the original act it is purporting to amend and that the amendments proposed could have been included in the original act. If the answer to both questions is yes, the amendatory title passes constitutional scrutiny. We take this opportunity to explicitly reaffirm the St. Paul cases and hold that, for the purposes of article II, section 19 challenges, the title of an amendatory act is sufficient if the title identifies and purports to amend the original act and the subject matter of the amendatory act is within the purview of the title of the original act.

¶ 10 The dissent agrees with the appellant and would likewise overrule St. Paul. The dissent similarly fails to show how the St. Paul rule is incorrect or harmful and provides little reasoning to support its conclusion that the rule undercuts the constitutional provision at issue. In fact, St. Paul does not undercut our constitution, but rather reflects the general understanding of article II, section 19 at the time it was adopted. St. Paul relied primarily on a treatise which explained:

"If the title identifies and purports to amend a prior act, any matter properly connected with, or germane to, the subject expressed in the title of that act may be included in the body of the amendatory act. Any matter that could validly have been enacted as part of the original act under its title is considered germane. If the title of the original act is sufficient to embrace the matter contained in the amendatory act, the sufficiency of the title of the latter will not be inquired into."

St. Paul, 40 Wash.2d at 355, 243 P.2d 474 (quoting 1 J.G. Sutherland, Statutes and Statutory Construction § 1908 (Frank E. Horack, Jr., ed., 3d ed.1943)). The treatise, in turn, reflected the common understanding of how to interpret similar state constitutional provisions. See, e.g., Morford v. Unger, 8 Iowa 82 (1859) (interpreting article III, section 26 of the Iowa Constitution reading, "[e]very law shall embrace but one object which shall be expressed in its title"); In re Miller, 29 Ariz. 582, 244 P. 376, 379 (1926) (interpreting article IV, section 13 of the Arizona Constitution reading, "...

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53 practice notes
  • Ludvigsen v. City of Seattle, No. 79974-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • December 20, 2007
    ...the admissibility of evidence, of greater significance is what they take away. See City of Fircrest v. Jensen, 158 Wash.2d 384, 396-97, 143 P.3d 776 (2006) (describing the effect of the amendments on the admissions procedure). Before the amendments, defendants could not be prosecuted, as a ......
  • Banowsky v. Backstrom, NO. 96200-6
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 25, 2019
    ...¶47 "The inherent power of article IV includes the power to govern court procedures." City of Fircrest v. Jensen , 158 Wash.2d 384, 394, 143 P.3d 776 (2006) (plurality opinion); id. at 400, 143 P.3d 776 (Owens, J., concurring). This court exercises that power in part by promulgating rules, ......
  • Davis ex rel. Olympia Food Coop. v. Cox, No. 71360–4–I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 7, 2014
    ...The inherent power of article IV includes the power to govern court procedures.” City of Fircrest v. Jensen, 158 Wash.2d 384, 394, 143 P.3d 776 (2006) (footnote omitted). “When a court rule and a statute conflict, the court will attempt to harmonize them, giving effect to both.” Jensen, 158......
  • Frausto v. Yakima Hma, LLC, No. 93312-0
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • April 27, 2017
    ...will assist the trier of fact and excluding evidence that does not meet this standard. City of Fircrest v. Jensen, 158 Wash.2d 384, 397, 143 P.3d 776 (2006). Frausto argues that, absent any additional statutory requirements, the Rules of Evidence resolve the issue of who may testify regardi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
53 cases
  • Ludvigsen v. City of Seattle, No. 79974-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • December 20, 2007
    ...the admissibility of evidence, of greater significance is what they take away. See City of Fircrest v. Jensen, 158 Wash.2d 384, 396-97, 143 P.3d 776 (2006) (describing the effect of the amendments on the admissions procedure). Before the amendments, defendants could not be prosecuted, as a ......
  • Banowsky v. Backstrom, NO. 96200-6
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 25, 2019
    ...¶47 "The inherent power of article IV includes the power to govern court procedures." City of Fircrest v. Jensen , 158 Wash.2d 384, 394, 143 P.3d 776 (2006) (plurality opinion); id. at 400, 143 P.3d 776 (Owens, J., concurring). This court exercises that power in part by promulgating rules, ......
  • Davis ex rel. Olympia Food Coop. v. Cox, No. 71360–4–I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 7, 2014
    ...The inherent power of article IV includes the power to govern court procedures.” City of Fircrest v. Jensen, 158 Wash.2d 384, 394, 143 P.3d 776 (2006) (footnote omitted). “When a court rule and a statute conflict, the court will attempt to harmonize them, giving effect to both.” Jensen, 158......
  • Frausto v. Yakima Hma, LLC, No. 93312-0
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • April 27, 2017
    ...will assist the trier of fact and excluding evidence that does not meet this standard. City of Fircrest v. Jensen, 158 Wash.2d 384, 397, 143 P.3d 776 (2006). Frausto argues that, absent any additional statutory requirements, the Rules of Evidence resolve the issue of who may testify regardi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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