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The Washington Supreme Court’s recent opinion in State v. Blake, 197 Win. 2d 170, 174, 481 P.3d 521, 524 (2021), held that RCW 69.50.4013 and its predecessor statutes (collectively “RCW 69.50.4013” or “simple possession”) are unconstitutional. This has resulted in an unprecedented number of post-conviction motions for relief. Please be advised that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is attempting to respond to a large number of inquiries, and we realize that all inquiries are important. We are giving priority to those requests from individuals currently in custody who are likely to be released within the next 0-180 days based upon a change to their offender score and sentencing range. We are also prioritizing individuals with active or inactive DOC supervision.

You may send your request to us at any time, but please be advised that due to the extreme volume you will not get an immediate response for less time-sensitive requests. ALSO, FOR VUCSA POSSESSION CASES YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REQUEST RELIEF UNLESS THERE IS AN URGENT NEED because the KCPAO will be proactively addressing these dismissals-see below*.

Send requests to: PAOBlakeRequest@kingcounty.gov.


Please be advised that the state cannot and will not respond to pro-se requests for resentencing. A pro-se request is a request made by the defendant and not through an attorney. If you are a defendant and have a request or question about resentencing you need to contact DPDBlakeRequest@kingcounty.gov. These requests will go to the public defender's office and they will contact us as needed.

Attorneys may submit re-sentencing requests to PAOBlakeRequest@kingcounty.gov.

In order to help us act quickly on the most urgent cases, in the subject line of your email please include:

  1. The name and cause number;
  2. Whether the request is for re-sentencing or dismissal;
  3. And—please indicate “urgent” if release from custody or community custody is immediate.

Please be aware:


  • We are constantly working to get through all requests.

  • For most requests, we are likely to agree to amend the Judgment and Sentence without a hearing.

  • If a hearing is required, we are trying to limit the inconvenience to defendants by coordinating with Department of Corrections to hold hearings virtually.

  • We cannot provide you with any legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact your attorney or contact the King County Department of Public Defense to screen for an attorney. Due to the complex legal nature of the re-sentencing requests, we cannot respond to pro-se requests for resentencing at this time. If you are pro-se, please contact an attorney.

  • If you want to seek appointment of counsel for Blake related issues please visit the King County Department of Public Defense website for more information: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/public-defense.aspx.

  • If you are a victim of a case affected by the Blake decision and have further questions, please also email us at PAOBLAKEREQUEST@kingcounty.gov and let us know that you are a victim. The KCPAO is attempting to notify victims of re-sentencings.

How to submit a Blake related request to the KCPAO


In order to help us prioritize your request and respond as quickly as possible, please fill out the Blake Request Form found below and attach all necessary documents. We cannot review your request until we have this information. Once a completed request is received, we can add it to a queue for review by a DPA. Incomplete requests and missing documents will delay our ability to respond to your request.

In addition to the documents requested, please include completed proposed orders where applicable.


Required Forms

Document Name File Link
Blake Request Form Microsoft Word file
Dismissal for a VUCSA Possession case that only includes Blake related counts Microsoft Word file
Dismissal in a VUCSA Possession case that has multiple counts that include non-VUCSA crimes, and one (or more) Blake/VUCSA counts Microsoft Word file
Agreed order to amend the Judgment and Sentence to correct the offender score, standard range, and sentence (for use by licensed attorney only) Microsoft Word file

Once all forms and documentation have been completed, email forms and attachments to: PAOBLAKEREQUEST@kingcounty.gov

Once again, in order to help us act quickly on the most urgent cases, in the subject line of your email please include:

  1. The name and cause number;
  2. Whether the request is for re-sentencing or dismissal;
  3. And—please indicate “urgent” if release from custody or community custody is immediate.

*Vacation of Prior Simple Possession Convictions and Refund of Legal Financial Obligations and Collection Costs


In addition to urgent vacation cases, King County has also implemented a process to vacate all prior convictions for simple drug possession in Superior Court, including convictions where a prior conviction for simple drug possession was an element of the subsequent offense. The good news is that a person with a qualifying conviction does not need to take any action for this to happen! The King County Prosecutor, in coordination with the clerk’s office, is currently compiling a list of all Blake-eligible convictions since 1971. Starting with the most recent convictions and working back in time, the PAO is currently filing motions in each cause number on behalf of the state to proactively vacate prior convictions for simple drug possession, cancel any outstanding LFO or collections cost balances that arise from the vacated conviction, and implement a process through the clerk’s office for a refund of any LFO or collections that were paid as a result of the vacated conviction. The State Patrol will also be informed that the conviction has been vacated.

The PAO has successfully vacated criminal judgments with Blake-only convictions back to mid-2008. Upon vacation of these matters, the clerk’s office will compute any LFO refunds that are due and document those amounts in the court file.

Please check your court record periodically to determine if your conviction for simple drug possession has been vacated and if you are entitled to a refund of prior LFOs paid in connection with the vacated conviction. The clerk’s office has posted the process on its website for obtaining a refund of any LFO and collections costs that were actually paid due to the vacated conviction. You will need to follow the short application process posted by the clerk’s office to receive a full refund of any LFO or collections costs that are due to you.

If you have convictions for simple possession in other counties, you will need to check with that county to determine how simple drug possession convictions are being vacated in that jurisdiction and how LFO refunds are being processed. Numerous other counties are following the process outlined above, but the specific procedure for each county may vary.

Overall, the PAO has successfully vacated 5,040 Blake convictions through the end of March 2022. The PAO has also completed 373 resentencings and dismissed 780 pending simple possession cases.

Victim FAQs

State v Blake is a case where the Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that Washington State’s drug possession statute is unconstitutional because it does not contain a “knowledge” element.

This means that all State of Washington “Violation of the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act” (VUCSA) Possession cases are unconstitutional, and all prior convictions are now invalid and need to be vacated (removed as if they didn’t occur).

All VUSCA Possession cases are now invalid and must be dismissed and anyone serving a sentence on a single VUSCA Possession is required to be released.

Yes, it affects some cases. There are many cases where a defendant had a prior VUCSA conviction on their record at the time they were sentenced to a different crime. These cases are not being dismissed but must be re-sentenced because taking away a defendant’s prior simple VUSCA convictions may change (lower) a defendant’s offender score. Lowering a defendant’s offender score will reduce the amount of time a defendant must spend in prison.

When an offender is sentenced, they are given an offender score which is based on the seriousness of the crime and the number of crimes they committed in their past. If there was VUSCA Possession in their past, it added to the offender score and therefore increased the length of their sentence. These defendants need to be re-sentenced because there will be a reduction in the offender score.

The Blake decision may also affect certain felonies where an underlying VUSCA was the predicate offense for a new charge.

No. Most cases will be resolved with a mutually agreed order between the defendant’s attorney and the King County Prosecutor’s Office. This agreed order will reflect the original sentence, removing the invalid VUSCA conviction, which will reduce the offender score and sentence. There will not be a hearing, however, you may still receive a letter explaining State v Blake.

In some limited violent crime cases, a re-sentencing hearing will be scheduled. If you are a victim of one of these cases, attempts will be made to notify you of the hearing and an advocate will be assigned to help you through the process.

According to Department of Corrections there are between 750 and 1200 King County defendants serving time in prison that may be affected by State v Blake.

The defendants serving time on single VUSCA Possession only have already been released.

For those defendants whose offender scores need to be adjusted our office will be working on those cases over the next few years.

If you have concerns about the custody status of a defendant, you can register with VINE, which is an automated service that lets you track the custody status of offenders in jail or prison. You can find out the custody status of a defendant and register to be notified by phone and/or email if their custody status changes, by calling the toll-free number, 1-877-846-3492, or visiting www.vinelink.com, or through the VINE Mobile Phone app.

You may also contact Department of Corrections – Victim Services Program to request advance notification of the release of an inmate, if the defendant is currently incarcerated in DOC. https://www.doc.wa.gov/victims/notification.htm

No because since the Blake decision the legislature changed the language of the law. Going forward the State can once again charge people with VUSCA Possession under the new statute, but this change only affects new VUSCA cases and not cases that occurred prior to the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Blake.

King County Prosecutor
Dan Satterberg
Read Dan's Biography

Phone:
206-477-1200
Email:
Prosecuting.Attorney@kingcounty.gov

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