WA Legal Roundup: Division II
Sims appeals his sentence banishing him from Cowlitz County as a violation of his due process rights and equal protection. Sims was charged with 1st degree child molestation and plead guilty. He underwent a psychosexual examination for a pre-sentence report. The report determined that he would present a very low risk for recidivism if allowed to stay in the community. Based upon the results, the DOC recommended suspending the confinement portion of the sentence under SSOSA (special sex offender sentencing alternative). The trial court banned him from the county in which the child he molested lived.
The State concedes the error and argues that the case should be remanded back to the trial court for “broader resentencing and reconsideration.”
To survive strict scrutiny the banishment must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. The court holds that the banishment of Sims was not narrowly tailored and that there could have been other restrictions imposed to protect the child and her family from Sims.
The court vacates Sims’s sentence and remands back to the trial court for resentencing. Sims argues that on remand the trial court should not be able to reconsider its SSOSA decision because if allowed to do so it will “chill criminal appeals.” The court finds the argument compelling, but nevertheless agrees that the trial court should be allowed to reconsider the SSOSA decision.