Justia Washington Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Intellectual Property
Leonel Romero-Ochoa was convicted by jury of burglary, unlawful imprisonment, assault, and multiple counts of rap all arising from an incident in which he broke into a woman's home, beat her, and raped her twice. At trial, Romero-Ochoa wanted to admit evidence that the victim was a U-visa applicant, which would grant her temporary legal resident status if she was the victim of a qualifying crime and helps law enforcement investigate or prosecute that crime. The trial court excluded the U-visa evidence. Romero-Ochoa argued that exclusion violated his constitutional rights to present a defense and confront witnesses. The Court of Appeals agreed and revered all but the unlawful imprisonment conviction, holding the constitutional error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt as to that conviction but not the others. The Washington Supreme Court granted the State's petition for review, which raised only the harmless error issue. The Supreme Court reversed, finding any error excluding the U-visa evidence was harmless as to all of Romero-Ochoa's convictions. The convictions were reinstated, and the matter remanded to the Court of Appeals to consider the claim of sentencing error that was not previously reached. View "Washington v. Romero-Ochoa" on Justia Law