State v. Blake Resou...

Blake Resources For Everyone
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who should read this?

Anyone who is curious if the legal decision in State v. Blake applies to you or your loved one(s).

Q: What is the State v. Blake decision?

The Washington Supreme Court on February 25, 2021, held that the simple felony possession of controlled substance statute was unconstitutional and void. For text of the law click here, RCW 69.50.4013.

Specifically, the Court found that the law as written did not require the State to prove a person intended to possess a prohibited controlled substances .  That without that intent or mens rea element, the law criminalizes innocent behavior, which is not  allowed under the constitution.

Q: Is possession of a certain prohibited controlled substances still illegal?

The Blake decision had the impact of striking down the law.  The Washington State Legislature always has the power to criminalize behavior and took action in April 2021 to pass a new law making it illegal again to possess certain prohibited controlled substances.  The new law had to meet the correct requirements that the Court discussed in the Blake decision.  The effective date of the new law is: July 21, 2021.

Q: What does the State v. Blake decision do?

The convictions under the old law (RCW 69.50.4013) are void. That generally means the convictions no longer have any legal effect.

Q: Does Blake apply to me?

If you have a possession of controlled substance conviction under RCW 69.50.4013, you are entitled to a resentencing hearing in court. At this resentencing hearing, the judge may remove or lower your sentence, remove your legal financial obligation, remove the term of community custody, and remove or change other conditions of the sentence.   Depending on your situation you may, after consulting with a qualified defense attorney, decide to remove the conviction itself.  Not everyone will decide to remove the conviction. You also have the legal right to clear your criminal conviction history through a motion to vacate too.

The Blake decision also applies if you are serving a sentence for an Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Second Degree conviction AND your only other prior conviction was possession of a controlled substance.

Q: What convictions ARE NOT covered by Blake?

Any other convictions that are not possession of controlled substances under RCW 60.50.4013 are not affected by the Blake decision. This means that all other state drug laws are still in effect; the state laws still criminalize possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver, delivery of a controlled substance, and manufacturing a controlled substance, among other crimes. These behaviors remain illegal.

Q: Can I get a lawyer/public defender for my resentencing because of Blake?

Yes, you can get a lawyer at public expense by filling out motion for counsel paperwork.

Copies of the paperwork should be filed or mailed to the Clerk of the Superior Court where you were convicted. A copy should also be sent to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in the county where you were convicted. You should also contact the local public defender’s office to let them know you have filed a motion. If you are indigent or unable to pay for a lawyer, the Court may appoint you a public defender at public expense.

Q: Do I need a lawyer/public defender?

Depending upon the details of your case, including whether you had a trial by judge or jury or whether you pleaded guilty, you or your loved one may be at risk of new and different criminal convictions or may be prosecuted for other old criminal charges if you proceed without legal advice and without considering all your legal options before making a request in court.  While people do have the right to proceed pro se in criminal cases, they also have the right to be represented by competent and qualified counsel and to get legal advice prior to making serious decisions that have long-lasting consequences.

In a very select few counties there may be criminal legal advice available. (For example, King County for all cases, or for those convicted of possession of controlled substances in juvenile court.   A public defender can help explain to you how Blake impacts your sentence and confidentiality advise if there are potential downside to vacating your conviction. This is important especially in cases that were negotiated or plea bargained to possession of a controlled substance because the State could possibly file other charges against you. A public defender can help you clear your record as well including how to get any legal financial obligations refunded. Having a lawyer often extremely helpful to your case. The court, clerk of the court, and the prosecutor cannot represent you or your legal interests and neither will provide legal advice to you or your loved one.

Q: How do I get resentenced?

Through your Public Defender filing a motion, or you can file a CrR 7.8 motion on your own (pro se). There are risks of trying to handle your case by yourself (see do I need a lawyer/public defender) and it is strongly advised you get a lawyer/public defender first. A CrR 7.8 motion will have to be filed in every case you had a possession for controlled substance to be resentenced.

Q: Is there a time bar for filing a motion to get relief under the Blake decision?

No.  Because the conviction is void, the one-year time bar does not apply to filing the CrR 7.8 motion.

Q: How soon will I be resentenced?

It depends. The reason timing is uncertain is because of factors outside the control of the person who needs to be resentenced. These factors include limited court access during the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of the court calendars, scheduling remote hearings with Department of Corrections, etc.

Q: What happens to the legal financial obligations that have already were paid on cases affected by the Blake decision?

Because the convictions affected by the Blake decision are void that means the sentences for those convictions are also are no longer valid. That means any legal financial obligations (like fines, assessments, and fees) may be refunded by the Court.

There is also a current lawsuit about returning legal financial obligations that may be relevant or of interest for you or your loved one and more information can be found here https://www.lforestitution.com/

How do I find out if Blake applies to me?

You may be eligible for resentencing if you answer YES to one of these questions:

  1. Were you convicted of Possession of a Controlled Substance (drugs)? (You may need to review your court order (judgment and sentence) or ask an attorney. This includes most street drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin)
  2. Were you convicted of Possession of a Controlled Substance (drugs) and another charge?
  3. Were you sent to prison because your Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative was revoked? This is limited to having a current or prior conviction of Possession of Controlled Substance as part of the current.
  4. Are you on community custody (supervised by the Department of Corrections) or expect to be on community custody because you were convicted of possession of drugs?

If you answered YES to any of these questions you may want to contact the public defender or the superior court where the conviction occurred. For example, if you were convicted in Everett, you would contact the Snohomish County Office of Public Defense.

How do I contact my public defender?

Do you know your attorney’s name? If you remember your attorney’s name, you can look them up on the WSBA’s website here

The Statewide Office of Public Defense has links to each court’s Blake information here.

Below is a list of all counties in Washington State and contact information for the public defender. Please note not all counties have an office of public defense and you may contact the court to find how to get a public defender.

County Name Public Defender Contact Information Court Contact Information
Adams None Location: 210 W. Broadway Ave., Ritzville, WA 99169-1860

 

Mailing: PO Box 126

Ritzville, WA 99169-0216

 

Phone: 509-659-3271

Asotin None Location: County Courthouse  135 2nd St. Asotin, WA 99402

 

Mailing: PO Box 159 Asotin, WA 99402-0159

 

Phone: 509-243-2082

Benton Benton County Office of Public Defense
7122 W. Okanogan Pl., Bldg. A
Kennewick, WA 99336
(509) 222-3700
Please call the public defender number listed.
Chelan Counsel for Defense of Chelan County
115 S. Chelan Ave.
Wenatchee, WA  98801
(509) 663-2444
Please call the public defender number listed.
Clallam Clallam Public Defender
516 E. Front Street
Port Angeles, WA  98362
(360) 452-3307
Please call the public defender number listed.
Clark Clark County Indigent Defense Office
1300 Franklin Street, Suite 662
P.O. Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
(564) 397-2333
Please call the public defender number listed.
Columbia None 341 E Main St., Ste 2

Dayton, WA 99328-1361

 

Phone: 509-382-4321

Cowlitz Cowlitz County Office of Public Defense
1801 1st Ave Ste 1A
Longview, WA  98632
(360)578-7430
Please call the public defender number listed.
Douglas None Location: 203 S Rainier Waterville, WA 98858

 

Mailing: PO Box 488

Waterville, WA 98858-0488

 

Phone: 509-745-9063

Ferry None 350 E Delaware Ave

Republic, WA 99166-9747

 

Phone: 509-684-7527

Franklin Franklin County Office of Public Defense
1016 N 4th Ave
Pasco, WA  99301
(509) 543-2989
Please call the public defender number listed.
Garfield None Location: 789 Main Street Pomeroy, WA 99347

 

Mailing: PO Box 329 Pomeroy, WA 99347-0329

 

Phone: 509-843-3731

Grant Grant County Public Defense
35 C Street NW, Suite 401
P.O. Box 37
Ephrata, WA 98823
(509) 754-6027
1-800-572-0119
Please call the public defender number listed.
Grays Harbor Grays Harbor County Department of Public Defense
100 W. Broadway #1
Montesano, WA  98563
(360) 964-1599
Please call the public defender number listed.
Island None Location: 101 NE 6th St, Fl 1 Coupeville, WA 98239

 

Mailing: PO Box 5000 Coupeville, WA 98239-5000

 

Phone: 360-679-7361

Jefferson Jefferson Associated Counsel
624 Polk Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
(360) 385-5613
Please call the public defender number listed.
King King County Department of Public Defense
710 Second Ave, Suite 1000
Seattle, WA 98104
Main Office: 206-296-7662
Please call the public defender number listed.
Kitsap Kitsap County Office of Public Defense 
614 Division Street, MS-40
Port Orchard, WA 98366
(360) 337-7015
Please call the public defender number listed.
Kittitas None 205 W. 5th Ave., Ste. 207 Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887

 

Phone: 509-962-7533

Klickitat None 205 S. Columbus Ave., Rm 206, Goldendale, WA 98620-9279

 

Phone: 509-773-5755

Lewis None 345 W. Main St., Fl 4 (W Main at Pacific) Chehalis, WA 98532-0336

 

Phone: 360-740-1333

Lincoln None Location: 450 Logan St. Davenport, WA 99122

 

Mailing: PO Box 396 Davenport, WA 99122-0396

 

Phone: 509-725-3081

Mason Mason County Public Defense  
411 North Fifth Street
Shelton, Washington 98584
(360) 427-9670
Please call the public defender number listed.
Okanogan None Location: 149 3rd N. Okanogan, WA 98840

 

Mailing: PO Box 112 Okanogan, WA 98840-0072

 

Phone: 509-422-7130

Pacific None Location: 300 Memorial Dr. South Bend, WA 98586

 

Mailing: PO Box 67 South Bend, WA 98586-0067

 

Phone: 360-875-9328

Pend Oreille None Location: 229 S. Garden Ave. Newport, WA 99156

 

Mailing: PO Box 5020 Newport, WA 99156-5020

 

Phone: 509-684-7527

Pierce Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel 
(also serves municipal courts of Tacoma, Gig Harbor and Fircrest)
949 Market Street, Suite 334
Tacoma, WA  98402-2194
(253)798-6062
Please call the public defender number listed.
San Juan San Juan Public Defender

360-370-5471

Please call the public defender number listed.
Skagit Skagit County Office of Assigned Counsel 
205 W. Kincaid, Suite #305
Mount Vernon, WA  98273
(360) 416-1690
Please call the public defender number listed.
Skamania None Location: 240 Vancouver Ave. Stevenson, WA 98648-6447

 

Mailing: PO Box 790 Stevenson, WA 98648-0790

 

Phone: 509-427-3765

Snohomish Snohomish County Office of Public Defense 
3000 Rockefeller Avenue M/S 209
Everett, WA  98201
(425) 388-3500
Please call the public defender number listed.
Spokane Spokane County Public Defender Office 
1033 West Gardner
Spokane, WA  99260
(509) 477-4246
Please call the public defender number listed.
Stevens None 215 S. Oak St., Rm 209 Colville, WA 99114-2862

 

Phone: 509-684-7527

Thurston Thurston County Public Defense 
926 24th Way SW
Olympia, WA  98502
(360) 754-4897
Please call the public defender number listed.
Wahkiakum None Location: 64 Main St. Cathlamet, WA 98612

 

Mailing: PO Box 157

Cathlamet, WA 98612-0116

 

Phone: 360-795-3558

Walla Walla None Location: 315 W. Main St.   Walla Walla, WA 99362-2864

 

Mailing: PO Box 836

Walla Walla, WA 99362-0259

 

Phone: 509-524-2780

Whatcom Whatcom County Public Defender 
215 North Commercial Street
Bellingham, WA  98225
(360) 676-6670
Please call the public defender number listed.
Whitman None Location: 400 N. Main St. Colfax, WA 99111-2031

 

Mailing: PO Box 679

Colfax, WA 99111-0679

 

Phone: 509-397-6244

Yakima Yakima County  Department of Assigned Counsel 
104 North 1st Street
Yakima, WA  98901
(509) 574-1160
Please call the public defender number listed.
Helpful Information
Commutations

The Governor’s Office of Washington State has offered commutations (pardon) to certain cases in Blake. This process is be assisted by the Office of Public Defense. To find out if you qualify, please click here https://www.opd.wa.gov/index.php/program/trial-defense/12-pd/268