Washington v. Anderson (Majority)Annotate this Case
Petitioner Brian Anderson was convicted of four counts of delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. The fourth amended information alleged that the first count was subject to RCW 69.50.435(1)(c)’s “[a]dditional penalty” because the offense occurred “[w]ithin one thousand feet of a school bus route stop designated by the school district.” The special verdict form asked the jury whether the defendant delivered a controlled substance to a person “within one thousand feet of a school bus route stop designated by a school district.” The jury was not instructed on the definition of “school bus route stop.” But unchallenged jury instructions proposed by the State defined “school bus” as a vehicle with a seating capacity of more than 10, among other specifications, and the State presented no evidence on the seating capacity of any buses or on the other listed definitional factors. The jury then answered yes to the special verdict form’s question, and the court imposed RCW 69.50.435(1)(c)’s “[a]dditional penalty” (or sentencing enhancement). Anderson contended on appeal that under the law of the case doctrine, the unchallenged jury instruction defining “school bus” in such detail compelled the State to prove that a “school bus” meeting that detailed definition actually used the school bus stops at issue here. He further argued the evidence was insufficient to meet that burden of proof. The State acknowledged that it presented no evidence on the “school bus” definitional details; it argued that neither the statute nor the law of the case doctrine required it to do so. To this, the Washington Supreme Court agreed and affirmed the trial court.