June 06, 2006

WA: self-defense reimbursement

This is unusual - loser pays in a criminal acquittal. From the Olympian:

Bar brawl acquittal might cost state - Jurors find soldier not guilty in fight outside O'Blarney's

A courtroom defeat for Thurston County prosecutors could cost the state as much as $25,000, or more. That's how much a 22-year-old soldier, Sgt. Matthew Young, could be entitled to in legal expenses after a jury acquitted him of second-degree assault with a firearm.

A Thurston County Superior Court jury ruled Friday that Young acted in self-defense when he wielded a gun to ward off a group of people who accosted him and his girlfriend... In cases where a defendant claims self-defense and is acquitted, the jury is allowed to determine whether the defendant is entitled to legal costs. It happens rarely, and several South Sound lawyers and judges recall it happening once or twice in their careers...

Rick Cordes was the defense lawyer. The prosecutor was David Soukup.

Update: here's your cite - RCW 9A.16.110:

When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense...