State v. Clark

In State v. Clark, 88 Wn.2d 533, 563 P.2d 1253 (Wash. 1977), a married woman sought appellate review, at public expense, of her conviction for drug offenses. The Washington Supreme Court considered whether the separate property of a criminal defendant's spouse could be considered in assessing the defendant's claim of indigency. The court considered a family-expense statute, which was deemed to be at least as broad as the common law duty to provide necessaries for one's family. Id. at 1255. The court concluded that necessaries included legal expenses to defend against a criminal charge when a spouse's liberty is at stake. Id. at 1256. Therefore, the court held the husband's assets were to be considered in determining whether the wife was indigent.