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State v. Allen
Washington Supreme Court
294 P.3d 679 (2013)
Two Black men approached Gerald Kovacs, a White man, while Kovacs was walking at dusk. The Black men offered to sell Kovacs marijuana. Kovacs refused, using an expletive. One of the Black men lifted his shirt, revealing a handgun, and threatened to kill Kovacs. Kovacs ran to a nearby gas station and called the police. Kovacs described the man with the gun as an African American in his mid-twenties; about 5ʹ9ʺ; between 210 and 220 pounds; and wearing a black hoodie, hat, and large, gold-framed sunglasses. Kovacs described the other man as an African American in his teens, about 5ʹ5ʺ, and wearing a red shirt. Shortly after, an officer responding to the call spotted two Black men fitting Kovacs’s description. One of the men, wearing a white t-shirt, fled at the officer’s approach. The other man, Bryan Allen (defendant), remained. Allen matched Kovacs’s description of the man carrying the gun, except that Allen was 6ʹ1ʺ and 280 pounds, and the arresting officer found no gun in Allen’s possession. Police brought Kovacs to the place of Allen’s arrest, and Kovacs identified him as the man who had threatened him. The state (plaintiff) charged Allen with felony harassment. Allen requested jury instructions that cautioned the jury about cross-racial identifications. The trial court refused. Allen was convicted and appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Johnson, J.)
Concurrence (Madsen, C.J.)
Dissent (Wiggins, J.)
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