Washington v. Anderson (Majority and Dissent)Annotate this Case
Tonelli Anderson petitioned the Washington Supreme Court for review of his 61-year sentence he received for two first degree murders committed at age 17. Anderson asked the Court to find his sentence was unconstitutionally cruel under the Washington constitution, arguing that Washington v. Haag announced a bright line rule that no juvenile offender could ever receive a sentence of 46 years or longer, no matter how serious or numerous their crimes might be. The Supreme Court agreed that Haag limited the category of juvenile offenders who could receive a de facto life without parole (LWOP) sentence, but when the offender’s crimes do not reflect those “mitigating qualities of youth,” Washington’s constitution does not bar a de facto LWOP sentence. In light of the evidence presented at trial, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court appropriately determined Anderson’s crimes did not reflect “youthful immaturity, impetuosity, or failure to appreciate risks and consequences.” Therefore his sentence was affirmed.