Washington v. Zamora (Majority and Concurrence)Annotate this Case
On Super Bowl Sunday, February 5, 2017, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Petitioner Joseph Zamora was walking to his niece’s house when a neighbor called the police to report a possible vehicle prowler. When Zamora reached the driveway of his niece’s home, he was contacted by responding officer Kevin Hake who indicated he needed to speak with Zamora. Hake quickly became nervous because of Zamora’s demeanor. Fearing Zamora had a weapon, Hake grabbed Zamora and attempted to restrain him. A struggle ensued and escalated to include what was described as “extreme acts of violence.” Ultimately, eight officers were involved in subduing Zamora. When responding paramedics arrived, Zamora was handcuffed, hog-tied, and lying face down in the snow with two officers restraining him; he had no heartbeat or pulse. It took the paramedics seven minutes to revive him. Zamora was taken to the hospital and remained in intensive care for approximately four weeks. A jury found Zamora guilty of two counts of third degree assault of a law enforcement officer. This case involved an issue of whether the prosecutor committed misconduct when, during jury selection, he repeatedly asked the potential jurors about their views on unlawful immigration, border security, undocumented immigrants, and crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. The Washington Supreme Court concluded the prosecutor’s questions and remarks apparently intentionally appealed to the jurors’ potential racial or ethnic bias, prejudice, or stereotypes and therefore constituted race-based prosecutorial misconduct. The judgment of the Court of Appeals was reversed and Zamora’s convictions vacated.