SSB 6463: An act relating to luring; amending RCW 9A.40.090; and prescribing penalties

By Renee Berry

On March 10, 2016, Governor Inslee signed substitute senate bill 6463 in to law. This legislation amends Washington state’s luring statute (RCW 9A.40.090), which has been in place since the 1990s. When the Legislature adopted the luring statute in 1993, there was debate between the two  chambers as to whether to have an affirmative defense, which puts the burden of proof that the person did not intend to do anything wrong on the defendant, or whether it should be something that the state would have to prove. Ultimately, it was decided to make it an affirmative defense. However, the courts have said that the burden cannot be on the individual and that the state needs to prove that the person intended to harm the minor or person with a developmental disability in some manner, and in December of 2015, the Court of Appeals found that the statute as written was overboard.

The passage of this legislation puts the burden of intent on the prosecutor to provide that luring was the intent and the affirmative defense to the crime of luring is removed. In addition to the current elements of the crime, the prosecutor must prove the defendant had the intent to harm the health, safety, or welfare of the minor or person with a developmental disability to facilitate the commission of any crime. The amendment is effective June 9, 2016.

Summary: To be convicted of luring, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had the intent to harm the health, safety, or welfare of the minor or person with a developmental disability, with the intent or to facilitate the commission of any crime.