Defendant was charged with unlawful possession of burglary tools, and fraudulent attempt to obtain narcotics. With agreement of defense counsel, the charges were consolidated for trial. At the close of the state's case, the trial court granted defendant's motion to suppress evidence relating to the burglary tools charge because it was obtained by an illegal search, dismissed the charge of unlawful possession of burglary tools, and instructed the jury to disregard all evidence or inferences concerning that charge. The trial court denied defendant's motion for a mistrial, and he was subsequently convicted of fraudulent attempt to obtain narcotics. On appeal, a divided Washington Supreme Court reversed and held: Notwithstanding a trial court's explicit instructions, exposure of a jury to evidence and exhibits relating to a charge of possession of burglary tools is so prejudicial to a defendant that implications of guilt cannot be adequately struck from the minds of jurors so as to enable defendant to receive a fair and unbiased trial on a separate and distinct charge. State v. Suleski, 67 Wash. Dec. 2d 45,406 P.2d 613 (1965).
Annual Survey of Washington Law,
Exposure to Unrelated But Inadmissible Evidence Constitutes Reversible Error,
Wash. L. & Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol41/iss3/14