WA Legal Roundup - Washington Supreme Court
Hughes pled guilty to two counts of rape stemming from one act of sex with a child. While I am not generally on the side of the pedophiles, this does seem to pretty clearly violate double jeopardy. He asked the superior court to strike one conviction, and they refused to do so. The trial court also refused to impanel a Blakely jury on an exceptional sentence, feeling it did not have the authority to do so under the SRA. The COA held there was no DJ, and that the trial court had the ability to impanel a jury for an exceptional sentence under an indeterminate sentencing scheme.
The supreme court held there was DJ, and the exceptional sentence jury could be impaneled:
For the purposes of double jeopardy analysis, we hold that, in this case, the two offenses are the same in fact and law. Here, the two offenses are the same in fact because they arose out of one act of sexual intercourse with the same victim. Here, both offenses are also the same in law. Although the elements of the crimes facially differ, both statutes require proof of nonconsent because of the victim's status. Regardless of whether nonconsent is proved by the age of the victim and the age differential between the victim and the perpetrator, or by the mental incapacity or physical helpless of the victim, both statutes protect individuals who are unable to consent by reason of their status. Therefore, these crimes do not pass the same elements analysis.
. . .
Hughes next argues that under the current SRA, the trial court has no statutory authority to impose an exceptional minimum indeterminate sentence. Even if the SRA does not prohibit exceptional minimum indeterminate sentencing, Hughes argues that no statutory procedure exists for judicial fact-finding, therefore the trial court cannot impose such a sentence. His first argument fails, and the second issue he raises is not ripe for review.
I am too tired to get into SRA amendments, their applicability, and an in depth discussion. For the meat behind the SRA portion, please see the opinion.
For those going to AAJ, make it a point to say hello, I will be there!