2017 TCBA Law Day Speech Contest


Sponsored by the Thurston County Bar Association and the West Olympia Rotary.

This year’s topic is, in your opinion, what is the most appropriate legal, social and moral response to addressing the delicate balance of protecting our law enforcement officers and, at the same time, the rights of our citizens, during police/citizen interactions and confrontations.  Our country has faced many recent incidents in which police officers have been criticized for their response and use of deadly force, especially in situations involving police officers and citizens of color.  Washington state is now addressing the issue in the legislative session through proposed statutes that deal with standards for when law-enforcement officers can be charged criminally for using deadly force.

The current statute, RCW 9A.16.040, describes specific instances when homicide or the use of deadly force by an officer is justifiable, and then goes on to provide that an officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice…”  Malice has been defined as acting with an evil intent, wish, or design to vex, annoy or injure another person.

Does this standard of “without malice” provide sufficient safeguards to all members of our community while balancing the need to protect members of law enforcement?  Is there a more appropriate standard, and if so, what would that be? We encourage presenters to express their own thoughts and ideas on the topic as well as use past, present or proposed laws to address issues they have identified.

The speech should be approximately five to seven minutes long.  There will be a preliminary round scheduled April 12th and/or April 13th (depending on the number of participants) that will take place in Superior Court at the main Thurston County Courthouse. The top three speeches will advance to a final round on May 2, 2017, at a West Olympia Rotary lunch from noon to 1:30 at the Viewpoint Room at the West Bay Marina.  Prize money will be awarded to the top three speeches.  The total prize money to be split among the top three speeches is $1,800.

This speech contest is open to all high school students attending high school in Thurston County.  DEADLINE: You must notify us of your intent to participate in the speech contest no later than 5 p.m. on April 5, 2017; please e-mail your intent to participate with your name, grade, school, and contact information to tcba.info@nullgmail.com.  If you have specific questions, please contact Heather at the Thurston County Bar Association at tcba.info@nullgmail.com




Heather Ligtenberg2017 TCBA Law Day Speech Contest