Hanson v. Snohomish – Case Brief Summary (Washington)

In Hanson v. Snohomish (1993) 121 Wn.2d 552 852 P.2d 295, the appellant was convicted of first degree assault. He appealed his conviction, arguing, in part, that the trial court should have suppressed the victim's identification because the procedures used by the investigating police officers were impermissibly suggestive. (Id., 852 P.2d at p. 296.)

The appellate court held that the identification evidence was properly admitted, but it reversed and ordered a new trial on other grounds. (Ibid.)

The appellant was acquitted on remand. (Ibid.) Following his acquittal, appellant sued the city and its police chief for malicious prosecution. (Ibid.)

The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants, and the Supreme Court affirmed. (Id., at p. 297.)

Citing the interim adverse judgment rule, it held that even if later reversed, the appellant's initial conviction was conclusive evidence of probable cause unless it was obtained by fraud, perjury, or other corrupt means. (Id., at pp. 297-300.)

Further, it held that because the propriety of the identification procedures--which it characterized as "the only allegations that could even possibly support a claim of fraud, perjury or corrupt practices" (id., at p. 300)--had been decided against him in the criminal proceeding, the appellant could not raise them here. It explained: "Hanson alleges here, as he did in the criminal proceeding, that the investigating police officers used impermissibly suggestive methods for identifying the assailant of the assault victim. Specifically, Hanson alleges the police manipulated the composite drawing, the photographic montage and the videotape lineup. These arguments are the same arguments Hanson made to the trial court at the pretrial suppression hearing and to the Court of Appeals on appeal from his conviction. In each court, Hanson was unsuccessful. He may not now relitigate this issue in this related civil case."