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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Supreme court news…

As ordained minister Virgil Montgomery describes it, the trip that landed him before the state's highest court began with a few errands.

On a shopping trip to Spokane, the 60-year-old Newport man and a 63-year-old friend bought some matches for his woodstove. And some cough medicine. And some acetone to remove old floor tiles in his old trailer. And a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to treat a dog's cuts.

By the end of that day in 2004, their borrowed Geo Storm contained a new pair of reading glasses from the Dollar Store and five of the nine ingredients to manufacture methamphetamine. And police had been trailing them since that first cold-medicine purchase at a Spokane Valley Target store.

Montgomery and his friend were arrested, tried and convicted of intent to make meth. But on Thursday, Montgomery got a pleasant surprise from the state Supreme Court. In a unanimous ruling, the justices threw out his conviction and ordered a new trial.

The court didn't say Montgomery was innocent. On the contrary, Justice Tom Chambers wrote that his "conviction was supported by substantial evidence." But...

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.