Washington v. Gates

Memorandum of Amici Curiae the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Coalition for Prior Conviction Impeachment Reform in Support of Petition for Review

Brief filed: 01/16/2024


Washington v. Gates

Supreme Court of the State of Washington; Case No. 102534-3

Prior Decision

Decision below State v. Gates, No. 83243-3-I (Wash. Ct. App. Oct. 9, 2023)


ER 609, which allows for the impeachment of witnesses using prior convictions, poses a high risk of unfair prejudice, especially given that the historical precedent set by Ray, which deemed prior theft crimes as indicative of truthfulness, is now considered outdated and contradicted by current empirical research. Revisiting Ray and re-evaluating the broader practice of using prior convictions for impeachment is supported by both legal precedent and evolving legal momentum.


Robin Wechkin, NACDL, Issaquah, WA, Monica Milton, NACDL, Washington, DC, Julia Simon-Kerr, University of Connecticcut School of Law, Hartford, CT, Anna Roberts, Brooklyn, NY

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