Washington Law Review


In State v. Goins, Division I of the Washington State Court of Appeals upheld inconsistent general and special verdicts on the same charge, even though the special verdict finding negated an element of the crime. The Goins court reasoned that the United States Supreme Court and the Washington State Supreme Court had previously upheld inconsistent verdicts in various contexts because the verdicts could have been the result of jury lenity. Therefore, overruling existing precedent, the Goins court upheld the inconsistent verdicts on the ground that distinguishing the Goins context would be elevating form over substance. This Note argues that the Goins decision is incorrect because the court failed to follow prior precedent and instead extended inapplicable case law beyond its reach, thereby depriving the defendant of his due process right to have the state prove all elements of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, this Note proposes remedial measures that would direct at least a mistrial in this context.

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