This is a long read about a little known law in effect since 1971 that helps cities, counties & the state to violate your rights.
Basically it states that prosecutors can get a warrant to search your bank accounts, emails, phones & any other info held by a 3rd party without a formal warrant.
It also says that you can be arrested & held (with no determinate time) as a material witness if you are considered a witness.
It also contains provisions to prosecute a witness if they tell anyone they have been called as a witness for these secret proceedings
It also says that the judge who orders this can not be involved in any further proceedings but if it’s a secret hearing issued without public record then how do we know if the judge is following the laws? We don’t.
This is a law that has held on the books for 43 yrs yet no one seems to know about it, but a few lawmakers who have repealed some sections of it in 2009. Why? It may be because of some court ruling we haven’t found yet.
So to recap: In Washington state if law enforcement even suspects you of any wrongdoing they can get an informal warrant to spy on you & disseminate your phone, bank, email, medical, & any other records they deem to be useful.
Don’t you feel better now?
Short title — Purpose. This chapter shall be known as the criminal investigatory act of 1971 and is enacted on behalf of
the peopleof the state of Washington to serve law enforcement in combating crime and corruption. [1971 ex.s. c 67 § 1.]
Special inquiry judge — Selection. In every county a superior court judge as designated by a majority of the judges shall be available to serve as a special inquiry judge to hear evidence concerning criminal activity and corruption. [1971 ex.s. c 67 § 5.]
Persons authorized to attend — Restrictions on attorneys.
No person shall be present at sessions of the grand jury or special inquiry judge except the witness under examination and his or her attorney, public attorneys, the reporter, an interpreter, a public servant guarding a witness who has been held in custody, if any, and, for the purposes provided for in RCW 10.27.170, any corporation counsel or city attorney. The attorney advising the witness shall only advise such witness concerning his or her right to answer or not answer any questions and the form of his or her answer and shall not otherwise engage in the proceedings. No person other than grand jurors shall be present while the grand jurors are deliberating or voting. Any person violating either of the above provisions may be held in contempt of court. [2010 c 8 § 1020; 1971 ex.s. c 67 § 8.]
Secrecy enjoined — Exceptions — Use and availability of evidence.
(1) Every member of the grand jury shall keep secret whatever he, she, or any other grand juror has said, and how he, she, or any other grand juror has voted, except for disclosure of indictments, if any, as provided in RCW 10.27.150.
(2) No grand juror shall be permitted to state or testify in any court how he, she, or any other grand juror voted on any question before them or what opinion was expressed by himself, herself, or any other grand juror regarding such question.
(3) No grand juror, public or private attorney, city attorney or corporation counsel, reporter, interpreter or public servant who held a witness in custody before a grand jury or special inquiry judge, or witness, principal or other person shall disclose the testimony of a witness examined before the grand jury or special inquiry judge or other evidence received by it, except when required by the court to disclose the testimony of the witness examined before the grand jury or special inquiry judge for the purpose of ascertaining whether it is consistent with that of the witness given before the court, or to disclose his or her testimony given before the grand jury or special inquiry judge by any person upon a charge against such person for perjury in giving his or her testimony or upon trial therefor, or when permitted by the court in furtherance of justice.
(4) The public attorney shall have access to all grand jury and special inquiry judge evidence and may introduce such evidence before any other grand jury or any trial in which the same may be relevant.
(5) The court upon a showing of good cause may make any or all grand jury or special inquiry judge evidence available to any other public attorney, prosecuting attorney, city attorney or corporation counsel upon proper application and with the concurrence of the public attorney attending such grand jury. Any witness’ testimony, given before a grand jury or a special inquiry judge and relevant to any subsequent proceeding against the witness, shall be made available to the witness upon proper application to the court. The court may also, upon proper application and upon a showing of good cause, make available to a defendant in a subsequent criminal proceeding other testimony or evidence:
(a) When given or presented before a special inquiry judge, if doing so is in the furtherance of justice; or
(b) When given or presented before a grand jury, if the court finds that doing so is necessary to prevent an injustice and that there is no reason to believe that doing so would endanger the life or safety of any witness or his or her family. The cost of any such transcript made available shall be borne by the applicant. [2010 c 8 § 1021; 1971 ex.s. c 67 § 9.]
Inquiry as to offenses — Duties — Investigation.
The grand jurors shall inquire into every offense triable within the county for which any person has been held to answer, if an indictment has not been found or an information filed in such case, and all other indictable offenses within the county which are presented to them by a public attorney or otherwise come to their knowledge. If a grand juror knows or has reason to believe that an indictable offense, triable within the county, has been committed, he or she shall declare such a fact to his or her fellow jurors who may begin an investigation. In such investigation the grand juror may be sworn as a witness. [2010 c 8 § 1022; 1971 ex.s. c 67 § 10.]
Duration of sessions — Extensions.
The length of time which a grand jury may sit after being convened shall not exceed sixty days. Before expiration of the sixty day period and any extensions, and upon showing of good cause, the court may order the grand jury panel extended for a period not to exceed sixty days. [1971 ex.s. c 67 § 11.]
Self-incrimination — Right to counsel.
Any individual called to testify before a grand jury or special inquiry judge, whether as a witness or principal, if not represented by an attorney appearing with the witness before the grand jury or special inquiry judge, must be told of his or her privilege against self-incrimination. Such an individual has a right to representation by an attorney to advise him or her as to his or her rights, obligations, and duties before the grand jury or special inquiry judge, and must be informed of this right. The attorney may be present during all proceedings attended by his or her client unless immunity has been granted pursuant to RCW 10.27.130. After immunity has been granted, such an individual may leave the grand jury room to confer with his or her attorney. [2010 c 8 § 1023; 1971 ex.s. c 67 § 12.]
Self-incrimination — Refusal to testify or give evidence — Procedure.
If in any proceedings before a grand jury or special inquiry judge, a person refuses, or indicates in advance a refusal, to testify or provide evidence of any other kind on the ground that he or she may be incriminated thereby, and if a public attorney requests the court to order that person to testify or provide the evidence, the court shall then hold a hearing and shall so order unless it finds that to do so would be clearly contrary to the public interest, and that person shall comply with the order. The hearing shall be subject to the provisions of RCW 10.27.080 and 10.27.090, unless the witness shall request that the hearing be public. If, but for this section, he or she would have been privileged to withhold the answer given or the evidence produced by him or her, the witness may not refuse to comply with the order on the basis of his or her privilege against self-incrimination; but he or she shall not be prosecuted or subjected to criminal penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or fact concerning which he or she has been ordered to testify pursuant to this section. He or she may nevertheless be prosecuted for failing to comply with the order to answer, or for perjury or for offering false evidence to the grand jury. [2010 c 8 § 1024; 1971 ex.s. c 67 § 13.]
Witnesses — Attendance.
(1) Except as provided in this section, no person has the right to appear as a witness in a grand jury or special inquiry judge proceeding.
(2) A public attorney may call as a witness in a grand jury or special inquiry judge proceeding any person believed by him or her to possess information or knowledge relevant thereto and may issue legal process and subpoena to compel his or her attendance and the production of evidence.
(3) The grand jury or special inquiry judge may cause to be called as a witness any person believed by it to possess relevant information or knowledge. If the grand jury or special inquiry judge desires to hear any such witness who was not called by a public attorney, it may direct a public attorney to issue and serve a subpoena upon such witness and the public attorney must comply with such direction. At any time after service of such subpoena and before the return date thereof, however, the public attorney may apply to the court which impaneled the grand jury for an order vacating or modifying the subpoena on the grounds that such is in the public interest. Upon such application, the court may in its discretion vacate the subpoena, extend its return date, attach reasonable conditions to directions, or make such other qualification thereof as is appropriate.
(4) The proceedings to summon a person and compel him or her to testify or provide evidence shall as far as possible be the same as proceedings to summon witnesses and compel their attendance. Such persons shall receive only those fees paid witnesses in superior court criminal trials. [2010 c 8 § 1025; 1971 ex.s. c 67 § 14.]
Indictments — Issuance.
After hearing, examining, and investigating the evidence before it, a grand jury may, in its discretion, issue an indictment against a principal. A grand jury shall find an indictment only when from all the evidence at least three-fourths of the jurors are convinced that there is probable cause to believe a principal is guilty of a criminal offense. When an indictment is found by a grand jury the foreperson or acting foreperson shall present it to the court. [2010 c 8 § 1026; 1971 ex.s. c 67 § 15.]
Special inquiry judge — Petition for order.
When any public attorney, corporation counsel or city attorney has reason to suspect crime or corruption, within the jurisdiction of such attorney, and there is reason to believe that there are persons who may be able to give material testimony or provide material evidence concerning such suspected crime or corruption, such attorney may petition the judge designated as a special inquiry judge pursuant to RCW 10.27.050 for an order directed to such persons commanding them to appear at a designated time and place in said county and to then and there answer such questions concerning the suspected crime or corruption as the special inquiry judge may approve, or provide evidence as directed by the special inquiry judge. [1971 ex.s. c 67 § 17.]
Special inquiry judge — Disqualification from subsequent proceedings.
The judge serving as a special inquiry judge shall be disqualified from acting as a magistrate or judge in any subsequent court proceeding arising from such inquiry except alleged contempt for neglect or refusal to appear, testify or provide evidence at such inquiry in response to an order, summons or subpoena. [1971 ex.s. c 67 § 18.]
Special inquiry judge — Direction to public attorney for proceedings in another county — Procedure.
Upon petition of a public attorney to the special inquiry judge that there is reason to suspect that there exists evidence of crime and corruption in another county, and with the concurrence of the special inquiry judge and prosecuting attorney of the other county, the special inquiry judge may direct the public attorney to attend and participate in special inquiry judge proceedings in the other county held to inquire into crime and corruption which relates to crime or corruption under investigation in the initiating county. The proceedings of such special inquiry judge may be transcribed, certified and filed in the county of the public attorney’s jurisdiction at the expense of that county. [1971 ex.s. c 67 § 19.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Statewide Special Inquiry Judge Act. [1980 c 146 § 1.]
It is the intent of the legislature in enacting this chapter to strengthen and enhance the ability of the state to detect and eliminate organized criminal activity. [1980 c 146 § 2.]
Powers and duties of statewide special inquiry judge.
A statewide special inquiry judge shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) To hear and receive evidence of crime and corruption.
(2) To appoint a reporter to record the proceedings; and to swear the reporter not to disclose any testimony or the name of any witness except as provided in RCW 10.27.090.
(3) Whenever necessary, to appoint an interpreter, and to swear him or her not to disclose any testimony or the name of any witness except as provided in RCW 10.27.090.
(4) When a person held in official custody is a witness before a statewide special inquiry judge, a public servant, assigned to guard him or her during his or her appearance may accompany him or her. The statewide special inquiry judge shall swear such public servant not to disclose any testimony or the name of any witness except as provided in RCW 10.27.090.
(5) To cause to be called as a witness any person believed by him or her to possess relevant information or knowledge. If the statewide special inquiry judge desires to hear any such witness who was not called by the special prosecutor, it may direct the special prosecutor to issue and serve a subpoena upon such witness and the special prosecutor must comply with such direction. At any time after service of such subpoena and before the return date thereof, however, the special prosecutor may apply to the statewide special inquiry judge for an order vacating or modifying the subpoena on the grounds that such is in the public interest. Upon such application, the statewide special inquiry judge may in its discretion vacate the subpoena, extend its return date, attach reasonable conditions to directions, or make such other qualification thereof as is appropriate.
(6) Upon a showing of good cause may make available any or all evidence obtained to any other public attorney, prosecuting attorney, city attorney, or corporation counsel upon proper application and with the concurrence of the special prosecutor. Any witness’ testimony, given before a statewide special inquiry judge and relevant to any subsequent proceeding against the witness, shall be made available to the witness upon proper application to the statewide special inquiry judge. The statewide special inquiry judge may also, upon proper application and upon a showing of good cause, make available to a defendant in a subsequent criminal proceeding other testimony or evidence when given or presented before a special inquiry judge, if doing so is in the furtherance of justice.
(7) Have authority to perform such other duties as may be required to effectively implement this chapter, in accord with rules adopted by the supreme court relating to these proceedings.
(8) Have authority to hold in contempt of court any person who shall disclose the name or testimony of a witness examined before a statewide special inquiry judge except when required by a court to disclose the testimony given before such statewide special inquiry judge in a subsequent criminal proceeding. [2010 c 8 § 1027; 1980 c 146 § 5.]
Disclosures by witness — Penalty.
Any witness who shall disclose the fact that he or she has been called as a witness before a statewide special inquiry judge or who shall disclose the nature of the testimony given shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. [1980 c 146 § 6.]
The supreme court shall develop and adopt rules to govern the procedures of a statewide special inquiry judge proceeding including rules assuring the confidentiality of all proceedings, testimony, and the identity of persons called as witnesses. The adoption of such rules shall be subject to the approval of such rules by the senate and house judiciary committees. [1980 c 146 § 7.]
Vacancy in office.
Whenever a statewide special inquiry judge or special prosecutor appointed under this chapter dies or in any other way is rendered incapable of continuing the duties of his or her office, a successor shall be appointed to serve for the remainder of the judge’s or prosecutor’s term in the manner provided for by *RCW 10.29.030 and 10.29.080 for the appointment of statewide special inquiry judges and special prosecutors. [1980 c 146 § 10.]
Notes: *Reviser’s note: RCW 10.29.030 and 10.29.080 were repealed by 2009 c 560 § 24.
Duties of special prosecutor or designee.
The special prosecutor or his or her designee shall:
(1) Attend all proceedings of the statewide special inquiry judge;
(2) Have the authority to issue subpoenas for witnesses statewide;
(3) Examine witnesses, present evidence, draft reports as directed by the statewide special inquiry judge, and draft and file informations under RCW 10.29.120. [2010 c 8 § 1028; 1980 c 146 § 11.]
Advising county prosecuting attorney — Filing and prosecution of informations — Expenses of prosecutions.
(1) The special prosecutor shall advise the county prosecuting attorney in any affected county of the nature of the statewide special inquiry judge investigation and of any informations arising from such proceedings unless such disclosures will create a substantial likelihood of a conflict of interest for the county prosecuting attorney.
(2) The special prosecutor may file and prosecute an information in the county where proper venue lies, after having advised the county prosecuting attorney as provided in this section and determined that such prosecuting attorney does not intend to do so, or pursuant to an agreement between them that the special prosecutor shall do so.
(3) Informations filed and prosecuted pursuant to this chapter shall meet the requirements of chapter 10.37 RCW.
(4) The expenses of prosecutions initiated and maintained by the special prosecutor shall be paid as part of the statewide special inquiry judge program as provided in *RCW 10.29.090. [1980 c 146 § 12.]
Notes:*Reviser’s note: RCW 10.29.090 was repealed by 2009 c 560 § 24.
Disqualification of judge from subsequent proceedings.
The judge serving as a special inquiry judge shall be disqualified from acting as a magistrate or judge in any subsequent court proceeding arising from such inquiry except alleged contempt for neglect or refusal to appear, testify, or provide evidence at such inquiry in response to an order, summons, or subpoena. [1980 c 146 § 13.]
Severability — 1980 c 146.
If any provision of this 1980 act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected. [1980 c 146 § 19.]