Winning Isn't Everything, But . . .
So, it's now a few weeks later. The kid is doing great at his dad's home. He has taken and passed all his GED tests. He is working full-time with his older brother. Today, we had a hearing on my motion to dismiss his case. Washington has a provision that allows the defendant/respondent to make a motion to dismiss a case if the evidence as stated in the police reports and supplements filed in the case, viewed in the light most favorable to the state, does not make out a prima facie case. As it turns out, there is good case law in Washington on the issue of juveniles being charged with burglarizing the family home. The case law recognizes that parents have a statutory duty to provide for the basic needs of their children, and therefore allows a conviction for burglary only if the child has been unequivocally made aware that he is not permitted in the home and the parent or parents have provided for the child's needs (e.g., by arranging for them to stay with someone else or by taking them to social services for placement). In this case, all the police report said was that my client had been kicked out of both parents' homes and had, since then, "been going from friend's house to friend's house." So, I filed my motion, and my brief, and argued the motion today. I knew things were going well when, after I finished my argument, the judge asked the prosecutor if there was any other case law superseding the Supreme Court opinion I had cited. (Of course there was not.) And then, the judge said he had never granted one of these motions before (which is amazing to me considering he's been sitting as a commissioner for about 20 years!), but he was granting this one.
You know how great it feels when you win? You know how much greater it feels when you believe so strongly that your winning was the absolutely right thing? You know how much greater it feels when, on top of that, your client beams at you, and hugs you, and thanks you for being the only person who was willing to fight for him? Well, I definitely know what that feels like today.