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AGO Opinions with Topic: CORONER
AGO 1980 No. 15 >  June 20, 1980
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - DEATH
ISSUANCE OF PRESUMPTIVE DEATH CERTIFICATE Under the applicable state statutes relating to the issuance of death certificates (RCW 70.58.160-70.58.180) a county coroner does not have the authority to issue a presumptive death certificate based on circumstantial evidence where no body has been found
AGO 1972 No. 1 >  January 10, 1972
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - PROSECUTING ATTORNEY - APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY CORONERS IN CERTAIN COUNTIES
OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- CORONER ‑- PROSECUTING ATTORNEY ‑- APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY CORONERS IN CERTAIN COUNTIES (1) A prosecuting attorney of a fourth through ninth class county, in his separate capacity as county coroner under RCW 36.16.030, may appoint one or more deputy coroners with the consent of his board of county commissioners.(2) The compensation of any persons so appointed as deputy coroners is to be fixed by the board of county commissioners.(3) There is no legal requirement that a person appointed to serve as a deputy county coroner in a fourth class county be admitted to the practice of law in this state.
AGO 1991 No. 10 >  March 13, 1991
COUNTIES - SHERIFF - CORONER - MOTOR VEHICLES - USE OF MOTOR VEHICLES FORFEITED BY SHERIFF
COUNTIES ‑- SHERIFF ‑- CORONER ‑- MOTOR VEHICLES ‑- USE OF MOTOR VEHICLES FORFEITED BY SHERIFF RCW 69.50.505(f)(1) provides that forfeited property may be retained for use by a law enforcement agency of the state.  A coroner does not act as a law enforcement agency of the state.  Therefore, a coroner is not entitled to use a motor vehicle forfeited pursuant to RCW 69.50.505(f)(1).
AGO 1979 No. 13 >  May 25, 1979
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - JURISDICTION OVER CERTAIN BODIES
OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- CORONER ‑- JURISDICTION OVER CERTAIN BODIES The jurisdiction of a county coroner under the first clause of RCW 68.08.010 extends to the body of a deceased person who, although not physically seen by a physician or other medical practitioner within the 36 hours preceding death, was generally under a physician's care for a number of years prior to his death and died ". . . under circumstances which the family physician considers consistent with the serious medical condition with which the deceased had been previously treated for a number of years."
AGO 1962 No. 175 >  October 25, 1962
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - AUTOPSY - TRANSPLANTING OF ORGANS FROM DECEASED PERSONS
OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- CORONER ‑- AUTOPSY ‑- TRANSPLANTING OF ORGANS FROM DECEASED PERSONS (1) Only the decedent and persons who have the right to control the disposition of the decedent's remains may authorize the transplanting of organs to a living person. (2) Authorization for transplanting of the organs of a deceased person to a living person must be in writing. (3) Authorization to perform an autopsy is required to be in writing in certain instances.  As a practical matter written authorization may be required in all cases. (4) Medical personnel appointed by the coroner to perform autopsies need not be deputized by him.
AGO 1977 No. 22 >  November 10, 1977
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - TREASURER - DECEDENTS - ESCHEAT - PROBATE OF CERTAIN DECEDENTS' ESTATES
OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- CORONER ‑- TREASURER ‑- DECEDENTS ‑- ESCHEAT ‑- PROBATE OF CERTAIN DECEDENTS' ESTATES The provisions of RCW 36.24.130 and 36.24.140 do not authorize a county to probate the estate of the person who has died without heirs or to place to the credit of the county other assets of the decedent except ". . . money or other property which may be found upon the dead body . . ." 
AGO 1992 No. 6 >  May 20, 1992
CORONER - DEATH
Issuance of Presumptive Death Certificate When There is a Suicide Note and No Body Has Been Found RCW 70.58.390 authorizes the issuance of a presumptive death certificate if there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to indicate that a person has died as a result of an accident or natural disaster.  A presumptive death certificate could not issue pursuant to RCW 70.58.390 if the only evidence is a suicide note and a missing body.
AGO 1968 No. 35 >  November 20, 1968
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - AUTOPSIES - SUBMISSION OF BLOOD SAMPLES TO STATE TOXICOLOGIST BY CORONERS IN CASE OF ALL TRAFFIC FATALITIES
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - AUTOPSIES - SUBMISSION OF BLOOD SAMPLES TO STATE TOXICOLOGIST BY CORONERS IN CASE OF ALL TRAFFIC FATALITIES A county coroner may take a blood sample from a person killed in a traffic accident and submit this sample to the state toxicologist for examination without violating RCW 68.08.105, relating to the confidentiality of reports and records of autopsies or post mortems; however, the state toxicologist has no authority to require any such blood sample to be submitted to him.
AGO 1998 No. 11 >  October 28, 1998
DEATH - DEATH CERTIFICATES - OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTIES - CORONER
Authority to issue certificate of presumptive death The county coroner or equivalent officer has discretion to decide whether to issue a certificate of presumptive death as to a person whose body has not been found but who may be presumed to have drowned in the waters of the county or in contiguous waters as a result of an accident or natural disaster; the officer's decision must take into account where the person was last seen and where the events occurred which probably caused the person's death, in addition to such other factors as may be relevant.
AGLO 1980 No. 22 >  June 23, 1980
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - CORONER - ELECTIONS
ELECTION OF COUNTY CORONER ON THE BASIS OF AN ANTICIPATED CHANGE IN COUNTY CLASSIFICATION (1) The Island County auditor may not accept filings for the office of coroner to be placed on the 1980 primary and general election ballot solely on the basis of an assumption or anticipation that Island County will be reclassified as a third class county following completion of the 1980 federal census. (2) In the absence of reclassification of Island County on the basis of the federal census prior to the candidates' filing period set forth in RCW 29.18.030, it would be a prerequisite to placing the office of coroner on the ballot that the county commissioners first do what is contemplated by RCW 36.13.020, et seq., in order to cause Island County to become a third, instead of a fourth, class county.
AGLO 1976 No. 30 >  April 23, 1976
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - PROSECUTING ATTORNEY - CORONER
SERVICE BY PROSECUTOR AS CORONER IN FOURTH CLASS COUNTY (1) Notwithstanding § 1, chapter 86, Laws of 1973, Ex. Sess., the prosecuting attorney of a fourth class county is still required to serve as ex officio county coroner. (2) Such prosecuting attorney is authorized to appear and defend the county in an action involving alleged misconduct by the coroner or his deputies.
AGLO 1975 No. 8 >  January 31, 1975
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - COUNTY - SHERIFF - CORONER
VACANCY IN OFFICE (1) A vacancy in the office of county sheriff created by a resignation does not constitute an "incapacity" within the meaning of RCW 36.24.010 so as to require the county coroner to perform the duties of the sheriff until the vacancy is filled by the county commissioners. (2) If, upon the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of county sheriff, the superior court of the county were to appoint an acting sheriff under the provisions of RCW 36.28.090, its action would be entitled to a presumption of validity and even if ultimately established to be invalid, it would nevertheless establish the appointee as the defacto county sheriff.
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