Defendant was convicted of the felony of possession of a narcotic without a prescription, and was sentenced to serve a maximum term of twenty years. Defendant claimed that, on the same facts, the prosecutor could have charged the defendant with the gross misdemeanor of illegal use of narcotic drugs. Defendant argued that this vests discretion in the prosecutor to charge either a felony or a gross misdemeanor, and that this discretion is violative of the equal protection clauses of the Washington and United States constitutions. On appeal, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed the conviction. Held: The gross misdemeanor of illegal use of a narcotic, and the felony of illegal possession of a narcotic, require different elements of proof and the prosecutor may, at his discretion, charge either or both crimes on the same set of facts without violating defendant's constitutional right to equal protection. State v. Reid, 66 Wash. Dec. 2d 231, 401 P.2d 988 (1965).
Annual Survey of Washington Law,
Constitutionality of Conviction under Narcotics Possession Statute,
Wash. L. & Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol41/iss3/13