En Banc Rulings

En banc rulings under SMCLR 8.2.4

Having determined an issue to be of citywide significance per SMCLR 8.2.4, Seattle Municipal Court judges have convened en banc panels for the following matters:

Motion Regarding Expired Blood Vials (May 20, 2024)

On May 20, 2024, Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) Presiding Judge Faye R. Chess issued an order on criminal motion regarding expired blood vials, having determined this issue to be of citywide significance per Seattle Municipal Court Local Rule, SMCLR 8.2.4. Per the order, an en banc panel of SMC Judges Catherine McDowall, Damon Shadid, and Willie Gregory will determine whether blood test results obtained from vials that had expired before the testing of the blood occurred should be suppressed, or if some other remedy should be imposed. The panel will also consider as a related issue the significance of the delay in testing by the Washington State Toxicology Lab or the Seattle City Attorney’s delays in filing as it relates to the expired vials issue. Court staff will assign a case number and develop procedures for tracking cases that wish to join the en banc motion. A scheduling/status meeting will be arranged by court staff to discuss briefing schedule and hearing dates. Please submit the linked motion to join the case. For questions, contact SMC Bailiff Britt Hagerty.

Order on Criminal Motion - Expired Blood Vials

Motion to Join Expired Blood Vials Case

Past Matters

Ruling on Draeger Motion (January 3, 2023)

The en banc panel ruled that the new Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 448-16-060 applied retroactively to alcohol breath tests performed on Draeger instruments before the WAC was changed. The court alternatively ruled that even if the WAC amendment did not apply retroactively, the difference in the method used by the Draeger and the method approved in the prior version of the WAC did not justify suppression of the breath tests. The court further ruled that the State Toxicologist’s actions in amending the WAC were not arbitrary and capricious and did not justify suppression of the tests.Therefore, the court denied the motion to suppress breath tests performed on the Draeger Alcotest 9510 on this basis. Cases consolidated for this motion will be set for status hearings on February 7, 2023.

Draeger Motion Ruling

Ruling In Re: Washington Toxicology Lab Contamination Motion (February 10, 2022)

Having determined this to be an issue of citywide significance per Local Court Rule 8.2.4, the Court held an en banc hearing on behalf of three cases on January 12-14, 2022: City of Seattle v. Christopher Markham, City of Seattle v. Paul Winters, and City of Seattle v. Erica Neace. The motion was heard by the Hon. Adam Eisenberg, the Hon. Anita Crawford-Willis, the Hon. Andrea Chin, and the Hon. Catherine McDowall. 

Per the following order signed February 10, 2022, the Court will suppress all blood toxicology results for amphetamine and methamphetamine if the tests were conducted by the Washington State Toxicology Lab in its Main Lab or the Annex between March 2018 and October 2021. This ruling does not affect tests for alcohol or any other drug.

In Re: Washington State Toxicology Lab Methamphetamine Contamination Motion

Municipal Court

Address: 600 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO BOX 34987, Seattle, WA, 98124-4987
Phone: (206) 684-5600

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Municipal Court

Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed Holidays.
Contact Us: (206) 684-5600 or Customer Service.
En Español