Washington v. Bagby (Majority and Concurrence)Annotate this Case
Tyler Bagby was convicted of residential burglary, fourth degree assault, and harassment. At his trial, the prosecutor repeatedly asked witnesses to identify Bagby by his “nationality.” All the witnesses responded by identifying Bagby as either Black or African-American. Bagby was born in the United States; he was an American citizen; and his race, ethnicity, and identity were not at issue in this case. The Washington Supreme Court granted review to address whether the prosecutor’s repeated use of the word “nationality,” among other statements, to distinguish a defendant from other witnesses evoked racial bias in a manner that constituted prosecutorial misconduct and prejudiced the trial. The Court held that it did. "Because the race-based misconduct was so flagrant and ill intentioned that a timely objection and jury instruction could not have cured resulting prejudice, the errors are per se prejudicial, warranting reversal."